Cape Town: South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday wished the South African team well and was presented with a cricket shirt, reminiscent of the last time the country won a World Championship on home soil - the 1995 Rugby World Cup. "I'm quite certain that you will progress through the tournament to the final match, which we will win," Mbeki told Shaun Pollock's Proteas at his official Tuynhuys residence. Flanked by South African Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour, Pollock presented Mbeki with a green South African shirt, saying the team realised the responsibility it had towards the country.
"We realise what we can do for the country by having a good run in the World Cup. In 1995 it had a big impact on the country and we believe it can do the same if we play some good cricket," he was quoted on SABC public television. In 1995, then South African President Nelson Mandela arrived at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg wearing the number six rugby jersey of captain Francois Pienaar. South Africa went on to beat New Zealand 15-12.