Masinga urges fans to rally behind Bafana
Performance and results aside, South Africans must flock to FNB Stadium tomorrow and rally behind Bafana Bafana in their match against Nigeria.
Bafana meet Nigeria at 3pm in a match that will secure them a place in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next year - but only if they win.
Despite having failed to beat lowly-ranked Seychelles in their last game, Bafana have shown that they can beat Nigeria having defeated the Super Eagles in their backyard in June last year.
Former Bafana striker Philemon "Chippa" Masinga said support from the fans played a huge role in the success of his generation and can do the same now.
"It was not only the support of our journalists that were writing positive stories about us; it was coming from politicians and even from churches.
"Each and every time we played, at 1pm the crowd was flocking to the stadium. Automatically, that would give you goose bumps before the game. You feel like 'wow, these people have [put their] hope[s] in me'."
Masinga admitted that Bafana have not been getting positive results of late, hence the fans have stayed away.
But he said even his generation initially struggled with results. He said Bafana needed the fans in the stadium now more than ever.
"Despite that the team is not doing well, despite that we have been having problems in the senior national team, we should learn to be patriotic.
"Patriotism is very crucial. That is what we have to teach our people. When Bafana Bafana play [tomorrow] they need to see a lot of people. Yes, after the game you can have your complaints but you have supported the team," he said.
He added that there also need to be activations to promote the game. But Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said they have been doing a lot to attract fans. According to Safa at about 3pm, 22 000 tickets had been sold. Tickets are being sold at Computicket, Shoprite & Checkers stores country wide at R60.
"We have been doing roadshows. We have been sending [Bafana super fan] Saddam [Maake] and other supporters to every township. The biggest PR, the biggest seller are the results... we are doing everything [to promote the game]."
But Chimhavi agreed that fans needed to go to the stadium and support Bafana as this was a crucial game.
"This is the time that the boys need the support of the nation. It is the biggest rivalry on the continent. We must give our boys the 12th man in the stands.
"When we went to Nigeria, by midday there was no space to put your foot in the stadium," he said.