Bafana: no victory, no pay

2013-01-18 00:00

IN a move that is completely out of sync with the stereotypes associated with modern-day footballers, Bafana Bafana players have refused to accept performance bonuses during the group stages of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Instead, the Bongani Khumalo-led squad say they will talk about receiving financial awards from the South African Football Association (Safa) only if they make it through to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

It has not been uncommon for Bafana to demand financial rewards from Safa before major tournaments in the past, and the squads before the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup (both hosted in South Africa) won the battle with Safa to be paid handsomely before the competitions had even begun.

But coach Gordon Igesund’s class of 2013 believe that they must earn any paycheques that come their way, and the decision is one that signifies maturity and gives a reassuring sense that Afcon is being taken seriously by the players.

The tournament begins in Johannesburg tomorrow when Bafana play Cape Verde Islands at the National Stadium (Soccer City).

“I think it [the players’ decision] speaks for itself,” Bafana skipper Khumalo said before a training session at the stadium yesterday.

“The guys have shown their courage and it shows how determined we all are to succeed.”

While exact figures have not been confirmed, it has been reported this week that each squad member would pocket about R1 million should Bafana win the tournament.

Meanwhile, the National Stadium was a hive of activity yesterday as stadium officials and organisers worked furiously to get the pitch ready for action tomorrow.

The official opening ceremony has been talked up massively by the tournament’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) and it will take place at 4 pm tomorrow just before the Bafana match (6 pm).

A rehearsal of the performance, which has been called a “celebration of Africa” by the LOC, was conducted at the stadium yesterday afternoon to iron out any remaining last minute concerns.

Only African artists will perform at the ceremony, with Grammy award winner Oumou Sangaré (Mali) being joined by South Africans Ringo Madlingozi, Ayanda Nhlangothi, Lira, Afurakan and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.

City Press reported yesterday that there have been 300 rehearsals of the ceremony, which will feature 1 000 costumes and 60 examples of traditional wear.

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