Bafana will come out alive from group of death – Mbalula

2015-01-26 15:46

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has thrown his weight behind Bafana Bafana, saying he believes they will bounce back and qualify for the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mbalula said he was more optimistic about the team’s chances after meeting with the players at their camp in Mongomo.

He expects fireworks when Bafana take on Ghana in a decisive game tomorrow evening. Kick-off is at 8pm South African time.

“I am optimistic about what is coming our way and I believe we can still make it. Despite other teams winning their games the group is still open. All the teams are going into the last match with something to play for and the group has lived up to expectations.

“But out of the group of death we will come out alive and those who have to die will die and go home but we will not be counted among them. It is now or never for us,” said Mbalula.

He said the players were determined to make up for their mistakes in the previous two games against Algeria and Senegal.

He bemoaned their lack of killer instinct in front of goal, saying Bafana should have wrapped up the group by now.

But that was football, he said, as victory eluded the team when everybody expected them to win.

Mbalula said failure to advance to the knockout stages would not be a train smash.

“We should learn from our mistakes but we never said we came here to win Afcon but to compete against the best in the continent. We have shown that we are hungry and determined and the team played good football.

“Our mandate has been to build a formidable side and Afcon is not an end but a journey for us. We will look at our mistakes, not going to the boardrooms like other teams who came here with mandates to win or else. We have got no stress of thinking of what will happen to the coach when we get home.

“We came here to prove our point and we have made our mark that we are not just a statistic but we have weighed ourselves against the best. If we don’t make it, it will mean it was not meant to be and there’s always next time.”

Mbalula has also praised the government of Equatorial Guinea for organising what he called “a fantastic tournament”, and said it deserved a pat on the back.

“The atmosphere has been fantastic and this has proved that in Africa everything is possible – after they agreed to host the event with a few days to go. It has been smooth sailing and the organisers have done well.”

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