‘Your time has come to conquer the world’

2015-02-05 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The Proteas owe it to the people of South Africa to bring the World Cup trophy home, the sports minister told them yesterday.

Fikile Mbulula was addressing the cricket team at a farewell function at ­Melrose Arch in Johannesburg before the team left for Australasia.

“Your time has come to conquer the world,” he told captain AB de Villiers, coach Russell Domingo and the players.

Mbalula didn’t miss a chance to get in a dig at Bafana Bafana and their coach Shakes Mashaba who were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations after the first round.

“Don’t be like Shakes,” he said.

“You mustn’t think you’ve got it in the bag before you have won anything,” he warned the team.

“Everyone involved with the team must understand that they are representing the whole country,” he said in answer to a question whether it was right to make so much of the team before they left.

“Today they can see what the SA team mean to the people. They aren’t going to the World Cup on holiday. It’s not going to be a joyride.”

A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered in the piazza wearing green shirts to wish the team well.

“It makes one feel humble to see how enthusiastic everyone is and how much they want us to succeed,” said De Villiers.

“We’ll draw strength from what we saw here today,” he said.

Mbalula said the public have a right to comment when a team don’t perform as expected.

“We find the soul of nation-building through sport. Our team must never be afraid to win. I don’t doubt you are going to win.

“I know AB as someone who never gives less than his best. AB, I’m very glad you are our captain. Go over there and do it for South Africa.”

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