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Bafana fans will make history when they enter stadium for World Cup qualifier

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The Department of Health has given Bafana Bafana the green light to become the first South Africa sports team to play in front of spectators since the start of the national lockdown.

Bafana Bafana fans will be the first South African sports supporters to be allowed into a stadium since lockdown began. File Picture: Itumeleng English, African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Bafana Bafana will make history at the FNB Stadium next Tuesday when they become the first sports team in South Africa to play in front of spectators after an 18-month absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Safa President Danny Jordaan said the Health Minister Joe Phaahla has already given his blessing for fans to return to the stadiums. The Department of Health will formulate the protocols and advise national football on Thursday.

“We had a great meeting with the Department of Health. On Thursday they will guide the way and show we will achieve this,” said Jordaan. “The Department will decide how we can do it in a manner that we all remain safe.

“It will be a marvel to see fans back in the stands.”

ALSO READ: Bafana’s Ethiopia clash could herald SA spectators return to stadiums

Jordaan will accompany the team for the six-hour chartered flight to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The match venue is the Bahir Dar International Stadium, a multi-purpose facility. Bahir Dar is a tourism city, adjacent to the Nile River.

It has become traditional for the Safa President to visit the national team a day before a match, and Jordaan said the team held a special place in the hearts of South African fans.

“Bafana Bafana are the hearts and emotions of South African fans,” said Jordaan. “The visit is to remind them of the place they hold within society. The hope they bring and the smiles they can put on the faces of the fans is special to see.”

ALSO READ: Bafana must use Ethiopia games to prove Ghana win was no fluke

Jordaan said the team faced a tricky hurdle because of the back-to-back fixtures against Ethiopia in the space of four days.

“As Safa, we have decided to do our best in terms of easing the travelling arrangements so that the team delivers their best,” said Jordaan. “They will be chartered to Bahir Dar and leave immediately after the match for the return match. In that way, they can focus on the job at hand.”

Jordaan said the team will enjoy having a 12th man present, and hopefully, their game will thrive with the support coming from the stands.

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