Bafana Bafana joined hundreds of South Africans who gathered at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg to mark the 10-day countdown to the start of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 tournament.
The tourney kicks off next Saturday, 19 January at the National Stadium with a match between South Africa and Cape Verde.
The crowd in the Sandton CBD braved the scorching heat to follow proceedings with loud music in the background.
The event was headlined by Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa Mr Fikile Mbalula who was accompanied by his deputy Gert Oosthuizen and Gauteng MEC for Sport, Lebogang Maile.
“The message is simple to you, go and do us proud. We release you to go and compete with the best. Walk onto the field and fight, and if you lose its ok you still have our support. We are very happy about your performance against Norway on Tuesday night, even if you didn’t score,” said Minister Mbalula.
“I am confident this team will do well, so for you the public go all out and buy your tickets to show your support.”
Among other high-profile dignitaries that were in attendance were President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Kirsten Nematandani, one of his deputies Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, AFCON LOC Chief Executive Officer Mvuzo Mbebe and Director General in the minister’s office Alec Moemi.
Bafana Bafana also made an appearance on stage, and were given a chance to greet the crowd.
The players were joined on stage by some of the 1996 AFCON winning squad members – Doctor Khumalo, Jerry Sikhosana, Zane Moosa and Edward “Magents” Motale.
“We appreciate the support that you have given this great bunch of players, there’s no doubt in my mind that these players will make you very proud, we will do our best,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund.
“We are indeed honoured to be representing you in this great tournament, and we are confident we will do everything in our power to make sure we are successful,” said Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo.