South Africans urged to rally behind Bafana Bafana

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rustenburg - South Africans have been called on to rally behind the national soccer team ahead of the big international spectacle on Saturday - the Mandela Challenge Cup - which will be a test of preparations towards hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Bafana Bafana is to play against Norway in the Nelson Mandela Inauguration Challenge match, dubbed the Peace Cup, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Over 17 000 tickets have been sold for the match. All proceeds will go to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

The Rustenburg Local Municipality, which hopes to have a packed stadium, has launched various campaigns in the areas surrounding the stadium to ensure local communities support their national team.

Speaking to BuaNews, Rustenburg Local Municipality 2010 Local Organising Committee Coordinator said: "We have gone to rural communities, big shopping centres and held supporting competitions to encourage people to come to the stadium."

Besides marking the official opening of the stadium, the match will test the team's preparations for the 2009 Confederations Cup to start in June.

"The stadium is ready and the players are already in Rustenburg preparing for the game which is very crucial for the country," said South African Football Association (SAFA) Director for Communications, Morio Sanyane.

He told BuaNews they were doing their utmost to ensure that the game would be a memorable one because it was important for the country.

Mr Sanyane urged people to arrive at the stadium early as the event was not only about the game, but that there would be a series of events and entertainment.

"The gates will be opened at 9am in the morning, people must come early to see not only the game but to also experience the re-opening of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium to be used for the two most important soccer events," said Mr Sanyane.

The match is expected to attract many visitors and especially FIFA officials who will monitor the event to ensure that all systems are working ahead of the stadium hosting World Cup matches.

The North West Premier, Edna Molewa, and the North West MEC for Sports Arts and Culture, Ndleleni Duma will welcome the delegates who will proceed to visit Sun City and other places of interest.

MEC Duma wished Bafana Bafana well ahead of the match, saying the entire country was behind the national team.

"We expect to win the cup as this will give us the opportunity to show the world that we are ready for the Confederations Cup and also for the World Cup," he said.

The match is expected to kick off at 3pm and viewers at home can catch it on SABC 1