21 January 2013
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has called on South Africans to continue to support the national team after Bafana Bafana drew against Cape Verde in Saturday’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening match at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
“Let’s go and support the team,” Mbalula said during a press conference in Johannesburg on Sunday. “This is not only about Bafana Bafana, is about the country’s ability to deliver the tournament to millions of viewers.”
“Yesterday’s game was just the beginning, and we will not give up on them,” he said.
Bafana next take on Angola at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday before they play their last group stage match against Morocco at the same venue on Sunday.
The four teams in Group A are level after Angola and Morocco also played out to a goalless draw on Saturday.
The minister said the government was pleased with the spectacle showcased in front of millions of Africans and the broader world community through good broadcast facilities, security services, health and occupational services, hospitality and other offerings from the country.
Mbalula said that 70 220 spectators had attended Saturday’s opening ceremony and match despite the wet and chilly weather. The match was viewed by millions of soccer fans across the world.
“We would like to thank the public for the way they behaved and cooperated with the security and officials at the various venues leading to the stadium. We further appeal to the spectators in various host cities to also come on board and emulate the National Stadium razzmatazz,” Mbalula said.
In Sunday’s Group B matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, tournament favourites Ghana went 2-0 up against the Democratic Republic of Congo before the DRC scored twice to level matters 2-2. Mali then went top of the group with a 1-0 victory over Niger.