Abedi rates Bafana ‘a dark horse’

2008-01-11 00:00

He described it as “a bridge to the 2010 World Cup” and rated Bafana Bafana “a dark horse” for the African Nations Cup tournament that gets underway in Ghana next week.

Ghana’s legendary Abedi Pele, ranked third behind George Weah and Roger Milla in a Caf list of Africa’s “Players of the Century”, regards the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Egypt in no particular order, as the favourites for the continent’s premier international showpiece.

But he reckons South Africa, and surprisingly Namibia, are countries who could produce some nasty surprises for the more fancied teams in a tournament with unpredictable overtones.

Abedi Pele was in Johannesburg yesterday as part of the Ghanaian Organising Committee’s Standard Bank marketing operation to publicise the event throughout the length and breadth of the continent.

And in their possession during the 11-country venture is the African Cup trophy, which will be paraded through the streets of Johannesburg this morning.

Pele said the staging of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 had fulfilled one of his lifelong ambitions — and provided players on the continent with an opportunity that had eluded him during his distinguished career as three-times African “Player of the Year”.

But he warned Bafana of the importance of the home side putting up a creditable performance in 2010. “Without the prolonged presence of the hosts in the event … ,” he said, “an essential ingredient is lost.”

Pele and Bolina Saake, another member of the Ghanaian delegation currently in South Africa, reassured Bafana that all the facilities in this northern province would meet with their satisfaction.

— Sapa

Pienaar snubs the media:

page 23

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