Bafana Bafana touched down at East London Airport yesterday afternoon where their loyal fans gathered in song to share their excitement ahead of the team’s much anticipated Chan qualifier against Zambia at Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter told the Daily Dispatch he was overwhelmed by the warm welcome the team received.
“The reception at the airport was fantastic, its always the same in East London and I enjoy coming here.”
Baxter said even though he did not have enough time with the squad they won’t disappoint their fans.
“We have put together this squad to play in the Cosafa and Chan and because in this time of the year its not an ideal situation so they [fans] can expect the best from boys in these very difficult circumstances.
“They will give everything they’ve got, that we can guarantee. You can’t guarantee winning but that we can because they [players] are really hungry and they have worked very hard.
“We are going to continue to prepare now that we are here and hoping we can give the Zambian side a really good game.”
This is the second time Bafana will be playing in East London this year as they also hosted neighbours, Angola in an international friendly in March.
Safa BCM president Prince Sibam said they were very excited and hoped everything went well on Saturday.
“Our preparations are going well. Everything is in place.
“I am sure we are going to have big numbers on Saturday for the game,” said Sibam.
National African Football Supporters’ Association (Nafsa) secretary-general Siyabulela Makunga thanked the fans who welcomed Bafana for coming out in numbers.
“These fans are supposed to be celebrating Women’s Day but they are here with us to give a warm welcome to Bafana and this is the same thing we are going to do with Zambia [today],” he said.
Also present were Chippa United fans who were more interested in seeing the Chilli Boys’ attacking midfielder Menzi Masuku, who received a late call-up on Monday.
They chanted “Masuku! Masuku! Masuku!”
Chippa faithful Bafo Mweba of Mdantsane said he was over the moon when he heard his favourite player, Masuku, was included in the Bafana squad, and he did not want to miss welcoming him and the rest of the players on arrival.
“When I heard Masuku has been called up for duty I thought to myself that this was a great opportunity for some of our players to see why it’s important to work hard – so that they can also earn a spot in the team one day.
“This is something big for us as the fans of Chippa United, because we just played Chiefs now, and now our player is in Bafana.
“We mean business, and that gives us hope that we won’t finish in the same position we did last season in the league.”