On their arrival in Duban yesterday, Bafana Bafana started off their camp with a visit to the grave of Senzo Meyiwa in the morning before preparing for the ORANGE Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The players formed a guard of honour around the grave and placed flowers as a sign of bidding farewell to Senzo.
“It was very important for us as players to pay our last respects to Senzo and his family. It was a very humbling moment for us to be there,” said England-based midfielder Dean Furman.
“It was also a very sad moment and hopefully on Saturday we can make him proud. We believe the visit is enough motivation for us to do well against Sudan and we know that Senzo is watching down on us and it would be an honour to go and finish the job that he started and was leading every step of the way.”
“When I heard that he had passed on I was in total shock and devastation and could not believe it. It will take a little while to sink in. We are happy the game has been moved to his home city of Durban (initially it was planned for Nelspruit), and we believe it is a great gesture.”
“Not all of us were able to make it to the funeral so we are glad we got the opportunity to see his final resting place, what is left is to do well on Saturday. Seeing his graveside made it real for us and we remembered the times we shared, his character and what he gave us as people and players.”
“For me personally it sunk in when I saw his grave and I think the other boys felt that way. It is, without doubt, going to be an emotional week of preparation but when the game comes we must be fully focused on the job at hand, hopefully Moses Mabhida will be full and they get behind because it is also going to be an emotional match,” said Furman.
Senzo’s former teammate at Orlando Pirates, striker Lehlohonolo Majoro, was part of the Bafana Bafana squad that went to Heroes Acres Cemetery in Chesterville where the goalkeeper was laid to rest.
“I was here with my teammates to bury Senzo and this was a great opportunity for those who could not make it so they could get closure as teammates and friends of the late Senzo,” said Majoro.
“It is everyone’s dream to qualify for AFCON 2015 and it was also the late captain’s dream so it is our duty to continue with the legacy he left behind because he showed with his great performances that he wanted to be there.”
“What is left for us now is to make it a reality, and it is only fair that we could play this match here and qualify in Senzo’s hometown. I want to believe it’s a blessing in disguise.”
Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba was glad they were able to honour Senzo in the manner they did as the national team.
“First of all we need to thank the family for allowing us this time to pay our last respects, it was very important for us to find closure. It was befitting, but I just hope it does not have a negative impact on the players but we can only hope for the best.”
“I think it’s going to be very important for us to win this weekend as it will be befitting for the late Senzo. But we don’t want to put our boys under pressure by saying they must win, we just want them to do what they are used to doing. We have to play to the best of our abilities like Senzo showed us,” said Mashaba.
“It is always the case that when we have such events we have different moods – others are still trying to get to terms with what has happened and I believe it will get better after the visit,” added Mashaba.
South Africa welcomes Sudan at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 15 November 2014. Kick-off is at 15h00.
Bafana Bafana then travel to Nigeria for a date with the Super Eagles four days later (Wednesday, 19 November).
The match will take place at the Ibo International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Kick-off is 18h00 local time in Nigeria (17h00 SA time – corrected time).
Meanwhile, tickets for that match are already on sale and available at Computicket outlets, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide for R80 all round.