Plans to invite Class of 96 to play in tournament

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Bafana Bafana's victorious Africa Cup of Nations Class of 1996 is expected to be seen for the first time together in the Sol Plaatje municipality in Galeshewe later this month.

Oupa Mabula, South African Football Association (Safa) Sol Plaatje municipality senior leader, said they will be hosting an Under-17 development tournament from August 23 to 26.

On August 21, a Fifa dele- gation, which will be led by 2010 Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan, will visit Kimberley for talks with the Northern Cape government and municipality.

"We have organised a big international tournament, which will also see a top Namibian side, Ajax Cape Town and a team from either Free State or North West taking part," said Mabula.

"They will play a round-robin system with the two top teams qualifying for the finals on August 26. That match will be a curtain-raiser for the big one between the Bafana Bafana Class of 96 and Northern Cape legends.

"The aim of the tournament is to create awareness of the 2010 World Cup. We are quite thrilled that a delegation from Fifa will also be here just before the start of the tournament.

"This is an opportunity to show the whole world that we are enthusiastic about the World Cup despite not being a host city," said the respected Mabula, who is also serving on the Safa competitions standing committee.

"Plans to come up with a tournament came up after a historic visit by the Northern Cape premier [Dipuo Peters] and her delegation to the Asia Expo in the United Arab Emirates in June.

"We plan to make it a yearly tournament."

Mabula said they will be able to name members of the Class of 96 going to Kimberley once the players, some of whom are now involved in coaching at higher level, confirm their attendance.

"Everybody here is excited about the tournament and the fact that the Class of 96 will also be here. This marks the beginning of our initiatives to bring high- profile games to our province," said Mabula.