SA medal chances boosted

SAFA executive member Nomsa Mahlangu has commended the role played by Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula in ensuring South Africa sends a well-oiled team to the 2012 London Olympics.

This was after Mbalula's department gave R1m each to Banyana Banyana (women's soccer team) and The Smoothies (women's hockey) to prepare for the Olympics.

"We are blessed and honoured to have Minister Mbalula in charge of our sports. The money will help us a great deal in the preparations for the Olympics," said Mahlangu.

The Free State-based Mahlangu was speaking at a gala dinner in Kempton Park on Tuesday hosted by Mbalula to congratulate the two teams for qualifying for the Olympics.

"We hope with this assistance you will be able to prepare well for the event, and we are confident you will come back winners," said Mbalula. "It would be great if you were to return with a medal, any medal, but even if you don't, you are still winners just by qualifying for the event."

Banyana Banyana and The Smoothies were paraded in an open-top bus through the streets of Mamelodi and Soweto on Monday.