1998 and 2002: 1st round
African Cup of Nations
1996 Winner. 1998 Final.
Winner 2002 and 2007
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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