packing the house

Ramatsiyi Moholoa and Molefi Mika

Ramatsiyi Moholoa and Molefi Mika

The Eastern Cape provincial government is pulling out all stops to get a full house for the game between Bafana Bafana and Nigeria in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

"We are mobilising support throughout the Eastern Cape," said Noxolo Abraham-Ntantiso, MEC for sports and recreation in the province.

"We have started with build-up campaigns in Uitenhage, Motherwell and other townships in the metropolitan to mobilise support."

Abraham-Ntantiso was speaking at yesterday's media briefing to welcome Bafana Bafana that was also attended by coach Joel Santana and local deputy mayor, Bicks Ndoni.

The same media briefing was also told that Benni McCarthy, who missed Blackburn Rovers' Premier League match against West Ham, is doubtful due to a groin injury. The Hammers hammered Blackburn 4-1 in that encounter where the Bafana captain, Aaron Mokoena was also not fielded.

Commenting on the McCarthy injury Sifiso Cele, Bafana's media officer, said: "Benni will be tested on arrival [today] by the team doctors, as we always do with other injured players, and the coach will then make a decision after that."

If McCarthy is injured then Santana will have to show faith in his other strikers, the likes of Surprise Moriri and Sibusiso Zuma.

Ndoni said: "We are excited to have Bafana Bafana in Nelson Mandela Bay, everybody is looking forward to the game."

As part of the process to mobilise support, the first 100 people to arrive at Nelson Mandela University of Technology and EPRU Stadium for Bafana Bafana's training sessions this week will get tickets.

At the same time, the South African Football Supporters Association executive arrived in East London yesterday to promote the game.

"There are a lot of give-aways to encourage people to come to the game," said Botha Msila, Bloemfontein Celtic's number one fan.

The Safsa top brass will fly to Port Elizabeth this afternoon for a similar assignment. Supporters will be given match tickets, T-shirts and caps.

Other Safsa officials in the Eastern Cape include Gladys Bailey (Ajax Cape Town), Mzion Mofokeng (Orlando Pirates) and Saddam Maake (Kaizer Chiefs).

Sowetan has learnt that Safa was talking to their technical sponsors, Adidas, to come up with a uniform for the supporters.

This was confirmed by Morio Sanyane, Safa's communications director.

"Our commercial director [Victor Nosi] is dealing with Adidas on that one, including the replicas and other material like the Bafana Bafana key holders, pins and stickers."