Zuma shares confidence with national squad

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana will beat Mexico on Friday and one of the six African teams, if not Bafana, will make it to the final of this year's FIFA World Cup, at least that's what President Jacob Zuma believes.

"I have no doubt in my mind that you will do well, we are ready to go to war (in the field of play) to win this World Cup," Zuma told the 23 Bafana squad members when he visited them at their Wits University training camp on Wednesday.

"I was a soccer player myself and I can say with the performance I've seen from you, you will go all the way," Zuma said to loud laughter and applause from the players.

He assured them that the entire country was behind the team and the coach as they set to embark on a difficult task of trying to make the nation proud. Earlier in the day, thousands of people blew their vuvuzelas and painted the streets of Sandton green and yelllow in a massive show of support for the national team.

Zuma said no South African was in doubt that the national soccer team had improved its performance. It was his belief that the team will fight with all it can not to disappoint the nation.

"As an optimist, Captain I can tell you, you will reach the final and my hands are itching to hold that cup it must not leave this country," Zuma told Bafana Captain Aaron Mokoena. In an "unlikely event" that Bafana don't make it all the way, one of the African teams represented in the tournament will lift the trophy, said Zuma.

"We have six countries there and one of them will win," said Zuma who always held a belief that the only challenge facing the national team was to score goals. "You will remember that I said in the past...sometime last year.... that Bafana will surprise the nation and I'm sure you have proven that."

Meanwhile, media has been barred from all Bafana training camps as the team embarks on serious preparations for the tournament. Sports analysts say Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira probably doesn't want the media to give away all his tactics ahead of the three important group matches.