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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Mbeki hails SA's heroes
Thabo Mbeki
Mbeki said the whole country was proud of Bafana Bafana
South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki hailed the country's team as "world class" as they returned home having narrowly missed out on the second round stages of the World Cup.

Bafana Bafana were visiting the country's parliament where they were given a standing ovation.

"You have made us proud," Mbeki told the players, who lost out to Paraguay on goal difference.

"We want to thank you for the good and quality football you displayed in Korea."

South Africa drew 2-2 with Paraguay, beat Slovenia 1-0 and were beaten 3-2 by Spain to be eliminated on goal difference.

"One mark you left in the world of football is that our team is world class ... I am confident that next time we will go to higher levels," Mbeki said.

He also praised Senegal, who are currently preparing for their quarter-final clash with Turkey.

"All of us are very pleased that our continent remains in contention to win the soccer World Cup, thanks to the excellent performance of the youth of Senegal.

"The prospects are good that Senegal will advance further towards the achievement of this objective when they face Turkey in the quarter-finals.

"All of Africa wishes them success as they engage in that battle," he said.


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GROUP B
  P GD PTS
SPAIN 3 +5 9
PARAGUAY 3 0 4
SOUTH AFRICA 3 0 4
SLOVENIA 3 -5 0

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