Sports minister Zizi Kodwa pays tribute to Bafana Bafana’s incredible AFCON run

South Africa’s minister of sports Zizi Kodwa has lauded Bafana Bafana for their commendable third-place achievement in the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Thousands of fervent supporters, adorned in the national team colours, warmly welcomed Bafana at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.

Despite a setback with a 2-0 loss in their opening Group E match against Mali, Bafana bounced back and remarkably progressed to the semifinals for the first time in 24 years. Kodwa showered accolades upon the technical staff and players, expressing optimism for the team’s future endeavours.

“Well, they are special in many ways. When I went to the locker room post-match you could see their heads were down because like the coach says they lost their own game. There were great opportunities and chances. So, we needed to motivate them and I think after that loss like Spain when they lost their opening match in 2010 in South Africa, I think they were motivated you could see their performance in the following matches. It was important that we give them support and encouragement,” Kodwa said.

“It’s always good to win the first game but sometimes to lose the first game does give demotivation. So, that motivation was important from our side but I could see a team of soldiers who were prepared to fight a war.”

Kodwa also expressed gratitude towards Hugo Broos, the Belgian-born mentor for reinstating pride within the nation.”Once more thank you coach for bringing this moment to the country. We haven’t had this moment about Bafana Bafana in the longest time. You have brought us hope, you have brought us a game changer in football. I thank SAFA for their leadership, I hope as we go along, we’ll make sure that we create a pipeline to make sure that this opportunity, we now have a building blocks for a national team. We now have sufficient building blocks as we prepare for the World Cup qualifiers. Thank you, very much and welcome home coach,” Kodwa added.

(story credit: SABC Sport)

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