Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The World Cup will miss Bafana, but they're not out yet

Time to abandon all attempts at rationality again as Bafana take on France this afternoon in Bloemfontein. Even if Bafana do managed to stuff the hapless French by a load of goals, they still need Mexico and Uruguay not to draw. It's a tough ask. Unlike in the build-up to the opening game, there is no longer an atmosphere of belief but one of desperate hope. The vuvuzelas are back but with a whimper, not a bang. No-one dares utter what they are secretly thinking, that Bafana have scant chance to progress. It's splashed all over the front of the papers; The Star begs Bafana to "Storm the Bastille". Archbishop Desmond Tutu is praying for a "Bafana miracle". TV and radio are telling us to get behind the team once more. Actually, there is one group that has dissented. The ANC's Youth League has criticised the performances of captain Aaron Mokoena, stating, "We believe captain Aaron Mokoena sometimes makes costly mistakes, which the team and the country cannot afford in a do-or-die soccer encounter". It may well be true but they're not doing themselves any favours by saying this before the game.

If, and it's an enormous if, it all goes to plan, there will be partying in the streets of Jo'burg tonight! If not... well, I'm just not going to think about that possibility. I will be in the thick of it once again at the fan park in Johannesburg CBD with my Bafana shirt and vuvuzela, screaming myself hoarse until the end. For an Englishman, I'm doing a good impression of being South African...

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