Bafana, Boks do it for Madiba

2013-08-18 14:00

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A nation united behind Bafana Bafana and the Springboks yesterday as they made South Africa proud at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

Both teams did it for Madiba by decisively beating the opposition.

Bafana Bafana defeated Burkino Faso 2-0 and the Boks trounced Argentina 73-13 at the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.

Attending the event were former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW De Klerk, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile who were unanimous in supporting Madiba who is still in a Pretoria hospital where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

“Tata is as strong as this wonderful crowd here this afternoon. He is a fighter and is watching happily from his hospital bed. We are grateful for all the support and mess that we have been receiving as a nation,” Mbalula said.

The energy and the atmosphere were electrifying. Vuvuzelas were blasting from all sides of the massive calabash shaped stadium even though about three quarters of the stands were full.

Fans adorning Bafana Bafana and the Springboks regalia sang Shosholoza and danced with the volume increasing after the national soccer team scored the first goal of the day.

But people who seemed to be enjoying themselves more than others were those who queued at the bar.

They were chatting and exchanging jokes while holding huge tumblers filled with beer. Others were taking pictures of each other.

Marianne and John Meyer from Krugersdorp wore Bafana Bafana jerseys.

“You can see everybody is having a good time. There is no racial difference. We are all South Africans who came together to celebrate the life of a man who united us as the nation,” said John.

Tsepo Mogale shared similar sentiments.

He said: “We need to have such events more often so that we can understand and learn to tolerate each other.”

Earlier in the day, it seemed like the event, dubbed by some as the “rainbow nation challenge”, was going to flop.

Tens of thousands of seats were empty when the first match of the day, which saw South African soccer legends like Jomo Sono, Lucas Radebe, Doctor Khumalo, Matthew Booth, Mark Fish and Shoes Moshoeu take to the pitch against Italian soccer legends, ended just before midday.

But the crowd started to swell before the Bafana Bafana and Burkina Faso game which started at 1:30pm.

Spectators were taken back in time as a passenger airplane did a flyover ahead of the Springboks’ match, reported Sapa.

The Charlotte Maxeke Airbus A330-200 flew low over the stadium in a repeat of pilot Laurie Kay’s 1995 Rugby World Cup flight over Ellis Park.

After the sport, artists Toya DeLazy, DJ Cyndo, Elvis Blue entertained spectators.

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