President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Danny Jordaan, has congratulated Bafana Bafana for qualifying for the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 tournament saying they have lifted the spirit of the country.
Dr Jordaan visited Bafana Bafana in their dressing room soon after Shakes Mashaba’s boys defeated Sudan 2-1 on Saturday, 15 November at the Moses Mabhida Stadium to book their place in the African showpiece.
This is the first time South Africa qualifies for the event since 2008.
Dr Jordaan was accompanied in the dressing room by, among others, Minister of Education and Higher Learning Dr Blade Nzimande, MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation in KwaZulu Natal Ms. Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, businessman Patrice Motsepe and Chad le Clos, the South African swimmer who is an Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games champion as well as the Commonwealth record holder in the 50 and 100 metre butterfly.
“You will see tomorrow and the next few days the impact of what you have done today. You have done an incredible thing for this country and I must thank you for that. I should also take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors for the support, thanks to government, Patrice Motsepe for travelling this long road with us and everyone who has made this a great success.
“Most importantly our gratitude as the Association goes to Shakes for turning the fortunes of our national team around and for putting smiles on the faces of millions of South Africans who have been patiently waiting for success. Congratulations on your fine win and all the best in Equatorial Guinea,” said Dr Jordaan.
Dr Nzimande reminded the team that they are carrying the hopes of the nation, and they should never forget that.
“On behalf of the South African government, you are our absolute pride. After this you really deserve a good celebration because I did not see you celebrate out there. As everybody is saying, it is important to note that this is a victory also for Senzo, there was no good way of closing this chapter in our own hearts than by doing what you did tonight. Darren (Keet) you did well because I know there must been have a lot of pressure on you as a goalkeeper coming in for Senzo,” said Dr Nzimande.
“Well done to all of you, (Thulani) Serero for Man of the Match, Dean (Furman) for being captain of the team, Yeye (Reneilwe Letsholonyane) for your 50th cap – this is a good innings. We are proud of all of you. Today we have qualified in the right way as a country unlike on previous occasions when we tried other means. Remember you are carrying the hopes of the nation and don’t ever forget that.”
Motsepe said Bafana Bafana instilled a sense of pride in the country.
“We are so happy and proud of you. Sometimes words cannot fully express what we feel and how happy you make us. In our travels around the world and the continent we have always known that this country has the very best, and our players can take the very best in the world. I just want to say thanks to each and every one of you. You have really done us proud,” said Motsepe.
Fellow athlete, Le Clos also congratulated his compatriots.
“Actually it was my first time to watch a live football match here in Durban, I saw you guys at Soccer City last year. What I want to tell you is that what is more important than winning is not giving up and I saw that today, you guys played with passion. You showed heart and character and team spirit and that’s what makes us South Africans champions. I am very proud to be a part of this today and what you did for Senzo is very impressive,” said le Clos.