“You are our heroes, you really fought like the warriors of Sekhukhune and Shaka,” said the minister.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa was full of praise for Bafana Bafana despite their penalty shootout loss to Nigeria in the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at Stade De Felix Boukate on Wednesday.
Kodwa visited the Bafana dressing room again and told the players that they have raised the South African flag high.
The minister got a lot of backlash for trying to ‘coach’ the team after their opening group game against Mali, which they lost 2-0. But that didn’t stop him from doing it again as he thanked the players for representing the country well in Ivory Coast.
“I think you have laid the foundation for us, we are proud of you as a country and we are looking forward to welcoming you and we will welcome you in a way we welcome all our national teams. You are our heroes, you really fought like the warriors of Sekhukhune and Shaka. But, like I said, the game of football is round, anything can happen. It’s about creating chances and taking them, you have done well,” said the minister.
“I want to thank you for the sacrifices you have made on behalf of the country. You left your families, you came into this country (Ivory Coast). I heard none of you complain about conditions, but I am sure you are not complaining. You have made sacrifices on behalf of the nation and I want to thank you for that.”
Kodwa added that Bafana are an inspiration to young people in South Africa.
“You are an inspiration to many young people. Like I said the last time, you are an inspiration for young people from Moletjie, from Mndantsane, Soweto, Mamelodi, so that they too can come at this stage that you are playing at.”
Bafana will play a third/fourth place play-off match against the Democratic Republic of Congo at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on Saturday.