Bafana Bafana have high hopes for Youth Day match

After a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the World Cup, South

Africa’s national football team is hoping to make the country proud

when it takes on Uruguay on Youth Day.

Youth Day celebrates the June 16, 1976, Soweto Uprising, when

black students rose up against the educational policies of the

former apartheid government.

“It is a big day in South African history, and we as players

want to beat Uruguay and take a step closer to reaching the

knockout phase and thereby making it a double celebration for South

Africa,” midfielder Steven Pienaar said Monday.

After Wednesday’s match in Pretoria, South Africa will face

France on June 22 in Bloemfontein.

“We have to be fully focused against Uruguay, who are a

well-organized side defensively and have good attacking players,”

the midfielder added. “But the way we played in the second half

against Mexico has given us a huge boost.”

Pienaar looked sluggish during Bafana Bafana’s opening draw

against Mexico at Soccer City. He was substituted midway through

the second half by Bernard Parker, and said his legs are tired

after playing a long season for Everton this year.

“It was a tough season in England for me,” Pienaar said, “and

I will shake it off hopefully against Uruguay.”