KZN drums up Bafana support

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sbu Ndebele has urged football lovers to rally behind the national team as they continue with their qualifying matches for next year's Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Bafana Bafana play Chad at Durban's King's Park Stadium on Saturday.

Ndebele welcomed the teams to the province, saying he was expecting a huge turnout for the game because of the passion the people of the province have for soccer.

"This match is part of the province's long-term strategy towards a successful 2010. Hosting the World Cup in 2010 presents KwaZulu-Natal with massive opportunities," Ndebele said.

"The game against Chad is an opportunity for us to test our ability to host big events. All the preparations for the Chad encounter are now in place," he said.

To Bafana Bafana, Ndebele said: "All 9,4million of our people are behind you all the way for this game and the many others to come.

"We will make sure that thousands come to King's Park Stadium and that millions watch you notch up another victory towards the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana."

He said the provincial government believed that it was important to get into "a winning spirit" ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

"We must again win the African Cup of Nations, as we did in 1996. If we win, we will go into 2010 with the necessary confidence that will significantly boost our chances of winning the world showpiece on African soil," said Ndebele.

As part of the drive to get into a "winning spirit", KwaZulu-Natal is building a soccer academy and has already started a schools coaching project.

The province is also training soccer administrators and promoting soccer.

Both teams arrived yesterday afternoon and will be training in different townships, Bafana in KwaMashu.