Sport

Bafana Bafana offered Afcon help from herbalist

Sapa

A herbalist from the Eastern Cape, Reuben Matewu, says he can help Bafana Bafana win matches at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Bafana drew goalless against Cape Verde in the Afcon opening. (Gallo)

South Africa settled for a goalless draw in their Afcon opener against Cape Verde Islands at the National Stadium on Saturday, compounding concerns about their ability to find the back of the net. 

"I can help Bafana Bafana for free if they want and I do that for the first three matches," Matewu told trufm, a regional SABC radio station, on Sunday.

"Thereafter I will charge them as they would have started winning.

"I'm not like those people who use bad muti. I will only use herbs, which are easily available here in South Africa."

While he would start charging for his services after a few matches, Matewu insisted he was not after the money.

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, the vice-president of the South Africa Football Association (Safa) and chairperson of the Afcon local organising committee, said Matewu's offer might be considered.

'Let the man speak to me'
"We always welcome whatever help we can get to ensure Bafana Bafana do well," Nonkonyana said.

"Let the man speak to me and see what we can do after that."

Sibonelo Madela, a traditional healer from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal, had threatened to prevent Bafana from winning matches.

This was after he claimed he was owed R90 000 by Safa for assisting the team during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Madela claimed that Bafana used his muti before their 2-1 victory over France during the group stages of the global showpiece.

Despite the win, they were knocked out in the first round of the competition.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi reportedly said at the time that Nonkonyana had given Madela R10 000 out of "his own goodwill", but no deal had been made between the inyanga and the national football body.

'Much appreciated'
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says government is pleased with opening of the 2013 Africa  Afcon. 

"The smooth and seamless operations by our people is much appreciated, a recorded amount of 70 220 spectators attended the opening ceremony and games," Mbalula said in a statement on Sunday.

"The rainy conditions that took over our country yesterday [Saturday] ahead of the continental showpiece under the banner of the Africa Nations Cup South Africa 2013 did not deter football loving Africans to watch the glamorous opening ceremony and the beautiful game of football at the National Stadium."

The South African soccer team got their campaign off to a rocky start with a goalless draw with Cape Verde Islands in rainy conditions.

Mbalula urged South African supporters to continue supporting Bafana Bafana despite their lacklustre performance. "South Africa has not lost the tournament at all, hence we have to continue to support Bafana Bafana," he said.

"Yesterday's game was just the beginning and we will not give up on them."

He praised the local organising committee for the work they have done up to this point. "We would also like to congratulate the Afcon local organising committee (LOC) for the sterling work they have done so far and for the sleepless nights they went through to put together this prestigious extravaganza for South Africa in particular and Africa in general," he said.

Public viewing areas
"We would like to thank the public for the way they behaved and cooperated with the security and officials at the various venues leading to the stadium."

He said government had delivered on its mandate of taking the tournament to ordinary citizens who could not attend the opening match. "There were about 45 public viewing areas set up in both indoor and outdoor facilities across the country in places such as Diepsloot, Xhariep, Amalangeni, Mookgopong and Oudtshoorn," Mbalula said.

Mbalula called on supporters to adhere to restrictions such as not bringing umbrellas to the match venues. "We understand the rainy conditions but for the safety of our supporters however they are not allowed inside the stadiums." – Sapa

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