Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has pleaded to South Africans to come out in their large numbers and support them when they face Nigeria in a crucial 2019 AFCON qualifier this Saturday in Johannesburg.
As at lunchtime on Tuesday, just over 7, 000 tickets have been sold for the match billed for the 90,000 First National Bank Stadium and Khune is calling on his countrymen to back them for the match against their perennial footballing rivals, who lead the group and would clinch automatic qualification with a win in the penultimate group fixture.
“The team needs you. The team needs you‚” Khune said after a Bafana training session in oppressive heat at Steyn City School in Midrand on Wednesday (yesterday).
Khune said despite the poor ticket sales he believed the home fans would buy late.
“You know how South Africans are. They like last-minute things‚” Khune said.
“So they will go and buy tickets. We just have to encourage them to come to the stadium‚ and make promises that we will keep and we will deliver on Saturday.
“So that’s our promise – that we will do well. We will definitely go out there and represent the country well.
“So they must play their part as well by coming to support the team. And purchase more tickets.
“Ninety-five thousand – it’s possible.
“South Africans I know you can do it. The team needs you.”
Despite the confidence of his appeal‚ Khune said the criticism that has been levelled at Bafana after more than a decade of underachievement punctuated by failures to qualify for major tournaments‚ let alone compete for AFCON‚ is warranted.
“I think our people deserve better. I mean‚ we have to win every match we play‚” the Kaizer Chiefs captain‚ said.
“We are in the top league‚ we [the PSL] are in the top 10 in Africa‚ maybe even in the top 10 in the world – I don’t know.
“But we’ve got great players‚ with great potential to even play so many matches and consolidate and win them.”