Fikile Mbalula changes his vicious tune on Bafana after Brazil defeat

2014-03-06 18:02

Unlike in January, when he chastised Bafana Bafana, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula sang a different tune today, despite the South Africans losing 0-5 to Brazil last night.

Mbalula spewed bile in January when the team was knocked out of the African Nations Championship in the first round, calling them a bunch of losers.

Although disappointed by the defeat to the five-time world champions, Mbalula was diplomatic today, saying it was time for reflection.

He praised Brazil for coming to the party and showing Bafana how to play. He said it was important for Safa to go back to the drawing board and start preparing for the future.

“What a great achievement for South Africa in terms of sport tourism and also to celebrate the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

“It was a joyous celebration. I have never been to an occasion where a visiting team is more celebrated even in defeat of the host. That showed the bonds of human solidarity and the great understanding of the two countries,” said Mbalula.

He said it was not the end of the road for Bafana, but called for a total overhaul of the team.

“You cannot compare our team today with Brazil as you will be mixing apples with bananas. Brazil had a vision ... After the 2010 World Cup, they dismantled the team and started afresh. They are a team with a rigorous mission and discipline, and have already won the Confederations Cup and now have the potential to win the World Cup.

“For us it was a great display of football and it shows we have no crisis of talent. The question is: do we have a vision and a plan to build a formidable side?”

He said he does not expect Bafana to win their next game, but to be glorious after a particular period.

Meanwhile, Mbalula also had kind words for the Proteas, despite losing their test series to Australia.

He said they still remained the best side in the world and should regroup for future matches.

“They have done well to become the number one test side in the world and everybody wants to beat them. We were defeated honourably and we must accept the defeat, but it is not the end of the road. Australia were a better side and came here prepared.”

He also paid tribute to the departed captain, Graeme Smith, saying he played his part in putting South Africa on the map.

“Although I was surprised by his resignation, I want to take my hat off to him and salute him for all the accolades he has brought to the country and for the time he has given to the country. He has done well for us and that cannot go unnoticed, even though he disappeared without a trace. We wish him all the best in the future and hope he will plough back into the game.”

Mbalula also congratulated the national Under-19 cricket team for winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Dubai last weekend.

He said the team’s achievement would be celebrated with a parade next week.

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