President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Dr Danny Jordaan, has hailed Bafana Bafana for their heriocs when they brushed aside their nemesis Nigeria 2-0 in the opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers on Saturday (10 June 2017) in Uyo, Nigeria.
In 12 clashes prior to this one, Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles had met 12 times with South Africa winning only once – in a friendly match – and suffered seven losses. Four matches were drawn.
This was head coach Stuart Baxter’s first match in charge of the team since his appointement last month and this was also the first time they defeated Nigeria in a competitive match.
Ironically, it was Baxter who beat the Super Eagles in the friendly match back in 2004.
Dr Jordaan said he was impressed by the manner in which they achieved the result.
“I must take this opportunity to congratulate Stuart and the team for the emphatic victory over our nemesis, this was a truly incredible result that will never be forgotten. What was pleasing was not just the scoreline but the manner in which the result was achieved – the boys displayed a strong mentality, strong character, fighting spirit and were never overawed by the occasion, which shows we are doing something right as a nation,” said Dr Jordaan.
“This was surely the best way to start in the AFCON qualifiers because many have always said Nigeria was the favourite and South Africa must fight for second place, now we have dismissed that notion.”
Dr Jordaan added that the squad and the nation must still not be carried away as this was only the beginning.
“It was indeed a great victory that we will talk about for many years to come but it is behind us now and the focus is on the next match. We will take a break on the AFCON qualifiers and soon start with the World Cup qualifiers, so this kind of display needs to continue as we have always said Bafana Bafana must be present in all the major tournaments. This was a great start but we must not get carried away as there is more that still needs to be done in the qualifiers,” added Dr Jordaan.
This year will turn out to be one of the busiest for Bafana Bafana as they will be playing almost every month except in May and December.
After no action for three months – since the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifier against Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in November 2016, which Bafana Bafana won 2-1 – the South African Senior Men’s National Team will return to the field at the end of the first quarter of 2017.
First up are two international FIFA dates on the 25th and 28th of March – home and away respectively – with as yet unnamed opponents.
Bafana Bafana will face Zambia in an international frienldy match tonight (13 June 2017) in Moruleng Stadium in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.
Kickoff is at 19h00.
Dr Jordaan has wished the team well.
“After our display against giant killers Nigeria, everyone is expecting us to walk all over Zambia but football is not like that. The team needs to continue with their hard work and have the same mental attitude as they had when facing Nigeria. Zambia goes into this match at the back of a defeat in the AFCON qualifiers and will come with guns blazing and we have to stand our ground.” said Jordaan.
Bafana Bafana’s next assignment after Zambia is the 2018 Kenya CHAN quailfiers where they face other neighbours Botswana in back to back clashes. The first is scheduled for the weekend of 14-16 July, and the return leg will be played a fortnight later.