South Africa: Bafana Bafana

By Alex Duval Smith

Posted on June 7, 2010 14:45

Bafana Bafana in search of a miracle

World Cup
1998 and 2002: 1st round

African Cup of Nations
1996 Winner. 1998 Final.
2002 Quarter-Finals

Winner 2002 and 2007


Alberto Parreira


Moeneeb Josephs, Orlando Pirates

Itumeleng Khune, Kaizer Chiefs

Shu-Aib Walters, Maritzburg United


Matthew Booth, Mamelodi Sundowns

Siboniso Gaxa, Mamelodi Sundowns

Bongani Khumalo, SuperSport United

Tsepo Masilela, Maccabi Haifa

Aaron Mokoena, Portsmouth

Anele Ngcongoa, Racing Genk

Siyabonga Sangweni, Lamotville Golden Arrows

Lucas Thwala, Orlando Pirates


Lance Davids, Ajax Cape Town

Kagisho Dikgacoi, Fulham

Thanduyise Khuboni, Lamontville Golden Arrows

Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Kaizer Chiefs

Teko Modise, Orlando Pirates

Surprise Moriri, Mamelodi Sundowns

Steven Pienaar, Everton

MacBeth Sibaya, Rubin Kazan

Siphiwe Tshabalala, Kaizer Chiefs


Katlego Mphela, Mamelodi Sundowns

Siyabonga Nomvete, Moroka Swallows

Bernard Parker, FC Twente

It’s not as if ‘The Boys’ don’t have talent. Benni McCarthy is a sharp striker, Steven Pienaar has had a great season in midfield for Everton, and the defense is relatively solid. The team was only just beaten by World Cup favourites Spain in the Confederations Cup in the summer of 2009. They will be playing to raucous home ?support, surely a boost.

Despite this, there are fears that South Africa may be the first organising country ever to be ejected in the first round of the competition.

The difficult group does not help; despite recent troubles, France’s team is packed full of talent, and Mexico and Uruguay are redoubtable opponents.

Before coach Carlos Alberto Parreira of Brazil took over from his predecessor and compatriot, Joel Santana, Bafana Bafana had won just nine out of their last 21 matches. Demoralised and lacking direction, the team suffers from the chronic disorganisation of the South African Football Federation. Things got so bad that Benni McCarthy would boycott games under Santana, on the pretext of injury.

The team has plenty of experienced players: Matthew Booth, Nasief ?Morris, Teko Modise and more. Alongside Pienaar, Lance Davids can play both defensively and offensively in midfield. But what it lacks are fresh legs, flair and a strong attack. Though McCarthy links well with Katlego Mphela, should either get injured it is hard to see where the goals will come from.

The South Africans need to take heart from the experience of South Korea, who organised the 2002 World Cup along with Japan.

They managed to surmount their inexperience and lack of star quality by developing a fast-flowing style that could overrun opponents, ?boosted by the energy of a cheering home crowd.

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