Bafana Bafana players visited the Nelson Mandela Hospital for Children in Johannesburg ahead of their match against Mali later this week. Bafana take on Mali in the Nelson Mandela challenge that will take place in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Coach Molefi Ntseki says the visit to the hospital motivated the players for match day.
“I think it was very important firstly, I should start with the team announcement that took place at Nelson Mandela Bay which was very historic, very emotional for some of us that we know where we come from as South Africans and I think the 25 year celebration is also historic to us and the visit on its own is motivational for the boys to have been here, some of us we have never been here before.”
The game against Mali this weekend will also become Ntseki’s first international match as Bafana head coach. He says this game is important to get them ready for the African Nations Cup qualifiers that will start next month.
The visit by the national team looked to give hope to the kids as part of their build-up to match against Mali. The game against the West Africans will mark 25 years of this partnership between SAFA and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) and proceeds from this game go to the NMCF.
Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) CEO Dr. Mandisa Maholwana says this visit will inspire the kids.
Visiting the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Parktown, ahead of the clash against Mali in the 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. @Banyana_Banyana @SAFA_net @BafanaBafana @COSAFAMEDIA pic.twitter.com/qK4V75G7y8
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) October 7, 2019
Bafana players and the technical team visited some of the hospital wards Monday morning and Maholwana has wished the men’s senior national football team all the best in their game against Mali at the weekend.
Bafana have played the likes of Brazil, Argentina, France, Holland, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia and many more teams as part of this Nelson Mandela Challenge match.
SAFA President Danny Jordaan says this game has also given Bafana an opportunity to roll with the big guns. Jordaan says some of the countries they’ve invited to come and play in the Nelson Mandela Challenge game in the past, there’s never been doubt to be part of this noble cause. He says the current generation of players also need to know the significance of this game.
Bafana Bafana are short on match practice, after their last scheduled friendly was cancelled due to the recent attacks on foreigners in South Africa.
The players say they are ready to face their opponents on Sunday.
Striker Kermit Erasmus says they are very relieved that they will be in action over the weekend. “ I think we need a couple of practice matches before the actual qualifiers happen, so it’s important for us to get a bit of games under our belt to see where we are with our new coach and hopefully we can carry on from where we left off.”