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‘Handsome reward’ if Bafana win Chan

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Brazilian defender Marcelo says playing against South Africa in the weeks leading up to the 2014 Fifa World Cup will provide a stern test for the five-time World Champions. Picture: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Cape Town – Bafana Bafana will be rewarded for winning the African Nations Championship this year, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said in Cape Town on Sunday.

“What I know, if our team wins this Championship, they will be rewarded handsomely,” Mbalula said.

“Their sacrifices, their determination and their sportsmanship to make our country proud, they will be rewarded. Money is not an issue here. This competition on its own is priceless. If they come second, no… nothing. No mediocrity rewarded. We will sit down with the SA Football Association (Safa) and we will reward them.”

South Africa got their campaign off to a solid start, beating Mozambique 3-1 at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, and maintaining their 100 percent record against their southern African neighbours.

Mbalula was encouraged by the national team’s performance in the opening game of group A. He praised the team's character for coming from a goal down to win.

“Yesterday’s performance lived up to expectations,” Mbalula said.

“It’s not usual that our national team, when the opponents score first, is able to come back. You could see that the players were hungry for success. Our team did exceptionally well and I hope that they carry that through this competition, to fight on and become better.”

Meanwhile, vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Almamy Kabele Camara expressed his delight at the opening of the tournament, as well as the level of action on the day.

“What I can tell you is that the crowds were there, the pitch was like a flying carpet, it was absolutely fantastic,” Camara said, speaking through an interpreter.

“I enjoyed the first match as well as the second one and I am satisfied with that. The organisation was absolutely perfect and nothing was missing from the opening day of the tournament.

“Things are running like a well-oiled machine and what you saw yesterday is just a taste of what great matches we are going to see.”

The focus shifts to Athlone Stadium on Sunday, where group B kicks-off with Zimbabwe against Morocco, followed by Burkina Faso against Uganda. – Sapa


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