Bafana Bafana

Barker wishes Madiba were here for 20th celebrations

Neil Tovey and Nelson Mandela (Gallo Images)
Neil Tovey and Nelson Mandela (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - February 3 marks the 20th anniversary since Bafana Bafana lifted the coveted Africa Cup of Nations trophy on home soil with a heart-stopping 2-0 win over Tunisia at a packed FNB Stadium.

WATCH: On this day... Bafana claim AFCON glory

With South African Football Association's vision for 2022 in full throttle, Technical Director and the man who led the country to that historic win, Neil Tovey, says the country was heading back to the top and implored everyone to embrace the ambitious idea.

"When we took to the field, little did we know we were creating a piece of history on the day, history that will define this country for years to come," said Tovey on the official SAFA website.

"We took to the field with no pressure at all and our intention was just to win the game. We never knew it would take ages to repeat the same feat but with vision 2022, I am glad and hopeful that we are headed back to the top again."

The former Bafana Bafana captain said 1996 was the greatest moment of his sporting career and receiving the trophy from, Nelson Mandela, still gives him goose bumps.

"Images of the team receiving the trophy and celebrating the win are still idolised across the continent and the globe and one cannot ask for a better sporting memory."

Winning coach Clive Barker says memories of 1996 come once in a lifetime and his only regret is the passing on of Sizwe Motaung and John 'Shoes' Moshoeu.

"I would have loved the two to be part of the 20th anniversary of this great sporting feat as they both played pivotal roles in that achievement," said Barker.

"I remember vividly Shoes playing as a man possessed in the semi-final win over Ghana which earned him the man-of-the-match award.

"It was tremendous for the country more so with rugby having won the World Cup a year earlier. But it was the first win over Cameroon that set the tone for the entire tournament.

"But all in all, we had a special bunch of players, a group of players that was intent on achieving something for the country.

"In all this however, we must not forget the role played by the late Nelson Mandela in encouraging the players - he literally was the 12th player during the tournament,” added Barker.

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