Zuma urges Bafana to ignore critics
There are too many critics complaining about Bafana Bafana who have never played professional soccer, president Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
"There are too many critics. I was telling the team that others who are critics who have never touched the football," Zuma said.
"They don't know how it feels to be inside here."
Zuma was speaking after a private meeting with the team in Orlando Stadium, Soweto, ahead of an African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.
Flanked by sports minister Fikile Mbalula, Zuma said the players had to relax before their matches.
"We have come to tell the national team that they must relax. They must not be tense and they must not listen to all these critics," he said. "They must just play what they know."
He said the whole of South Africa was behind the team.
Zuma said he had asked to touch the Afcon trophy.
"I just wanted to touch it. Touching it means we should be there at the final and we should take it."
The president said South Africa did well in preparing for the tournament, considering it was meant to be held in Libya, and did not have a long time to plan for it.
He said he was satisfied that the team was ready for the tournament.
"If you know soccer, you have got to see whether all departments are working in the field," Zuma said.
"This is so that you have goals that are played (scored) scientifically."
When Zuma took to the field to pose with the team, the Bafana Bafana players greeted him with a rendition of his trademark song, "Awulethu Umshini Wami" [bring me my machine-gun].
He was also presented with a personalised team jersey.