The South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan has lauded the young Bafana Bafana squad that won the 2016 Edition of the COSAFA Cup saying the Association’s decision to send the u23 to the tournament had been richly rewarded.
The mostly u23 squad that will take part in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics participated in this year’s COSAFA Cup in the Namibian capital of Windhoek and stunned football lovers with their ambitious and direct brand of football which left many football pundits admitting the future of SA football was bright.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Shakes Mashaba, his technical team and of course the players who conquered the entire Southern Africa Region for a job well done. Few gave them (the young players) a chance but their determination surprised everyone.
“They displayed some amazing fighting spirit and till the final whistle, never stopped trying, running and were justifiably rewarded as the best side in the Region. Well done. It goes to show SAFA’s Vision 2022 is very much on track,” said Dr Jordaan.
The SAFA President said the COSAFA Cup tournament had given the u23 a massive boost ahead of the Rio Olympics and that together with Banyana Banyana will be going to Brazil to make a statement for the country.
“We have invested millions in making sure that our two teams (Banyana Banyana and u23) are fully prepared for the Olympics and we have left nothing to chance.
“Banyana Banyana who have had a number of friendly matches in the past including matches against Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Netherlands will play the USA on 9 July in Chicago, Illinois before wrapping their Olympic preparations with a match against New Zealand in Brazil on 28 July. SA is the only country in Africa having two football representatives and our aim is to do exceptionally well.”
The Banyana Banyana/New Zealand clash will take place in Brazil on Thursday, 28 July – just six days before South Africa’s opening match against Sweden (Wednesday, 3 August 2016).
The SAFA President said despite Bafana Bafana having failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon due to their poor start when they drew with Gambia in Durban and lost away to Mauritania, South African football’s future looked bright.
“Having beaten Gambia 4-0 away from home, it is imperative to finish the AFCON qualifiers against Mauritania with a flourish so that we enter the Africa Zone 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in confident mood.
“We are in a tough group but I am sure with good preparations, we should make it to Russia in 2018,” added the SAFA boss. Bafana Bafana are in Group D together with Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.
Dr Jordaan said both the u20 and u17 were preparing for the CAF African youth championships which will take place in Zambia and Madagascar respectively next year and their qualification to these tournaments would further underscore how serious Vision 2022 was taking shape.
“Vision 2022 is the bedrock of our future and there is no looking back,” said Dr Jordaan.