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South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula has warned its cricket team ahead of the upcoming World Cup, saying they cannot come back to the country as a “bunch of losers”.
Mbalula made the comments during a send-off dinner for the South African team in Johannesburg, and they won’t go far to ease the nerves of the perennial underachievers.
“You represent the soul of this nation. Sport is not a useless business,” he is quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“Please win it for us. South Africans are accustomed to winning because we are the children of warriors. Nelson Mandela. Kepler Wessels.
“We don’t want you in the World Cup to add numbers and just become a bunch of losers. You are not going to be playing with robots, you are playing with people.
“You are the special ones. You are the chosen ones. It does not mean you are irreplaceable but all of you are capable of doing the duty for us.
“Forget about 1992. Forget about what happened in Bangladesh. When Allan Donald and Lance Klusener could not get us over the line [sic].
“To AB and your bunch of winners: you are not playing against cows. You are not playing against donkeys. Don’t undermine any of them. Go and win it for us. Winning is a statement of courage.”
South Africa have never placed higher than third at the World Cup, but go into the 2015 edition as one of the favourites.
The Proteas kick off their World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe on February 15 in Hamilton.