The whole country has to rally round Bafana. We are going to be great

NELSON Mandela, Jacob Zuma, FW de Klerk and Desmond Tutu lost no time yesterday in adding their voices to a campaign backing South Africa in the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup. On the day that thousands of South Africans queued to get tickets for matches, telecoms giant Vodacom and Africa's leading media company, Avusa, teamed up to kick off the Join the Voice behind Bafana Bafana campaign.

NELSON Mandela, Jacob Zuma, FW de Klerk and Desmond Tutu lost no time yesterday in adding their voices to a campaign backing South Africa in the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup. On the day that thousands of South Africans queued to get tickets for matches, telecoms giant Vodacom and Africa's leading media company, Avusa, teamed up to kick off the Join the Voice behind Bafana Bafana campaign.

The campaign calls for all South Africans to support Bafana Bafana by sending messages of support to the team and will appear in Avusa's six major newspapers; Sowetan, The Times,The Herald, Sunday World, Sunday Times and The Dispatch.

The aim is to collect 10million SMSes that will go into the the Guinness Book of Records and will also lift the spirits of the fans and enable South Africans to stand behind their team.

Nelson Mandela, who inspired South Africa for World Cup Rugby glory in 1995, sent his message through his foundation.

"The Nelson Mandela Foundation, on behalf of our founder, Nelson Mandela, our board and all our staff would like to wish our national team, Bafana Bafana all the best for the upcoming Football World Cup.

"Along with our fellow South Africans we will be cheering from the stadiums, the fan parks and in front of television sets as you proudly take to the field in fierce battle against the best teams from all corners of the globe. We wish to see you victorious in this first World Cup on African soil."

Nobel Peace winner and human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "Bafana Bafana you have our undivided support for the World Cup. We are proud of you and pin our hopes on you to carry our pride and hope."

President Jacob Zuma took time off his busy schedule to say: "Bafana Bafana will surprise the world. They will end up in the finals.

"I think the coach has realised where the team went wrong when it comes to scoring goals. We did not have strikers but now the problem has been solved.

"The whole country has to rally round and support Bafana Bafana. We are going to be great."

Former president FW de Klerk told us: "The coming Fifa World Cup tournament will undoubtedly be the greatest event in our proud sporting history.

"Bafana Bafana will be at the centre of all our hopes and dreams during these magical weeks. I have the greatest confidence that our team is going to show the world what South Africans are capable of when they are confronted with great challenges.

"We have surprised the world before by doing what everyone believed was impossible. I believe that Bafana Bafana will help us to surprise the world again. Viva, Bafana Bafana! Viva!"

The team's coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, said: "To be with the Bafana Bafana national team towards the 2010 World Cup is an accomplishment - a four- year dream. For me it started when I decided to come here in 2007."

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