The World Cup party started in style with host nation South Africa looking the part as they took the game to the Mexicans in a tense and highly entertaining opening match of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Suddenly the whole nation was behind Bafana Bafana and everybody proudly wore our shirts and faces were painted in our national colours. Once again we embraced the concept of “One Team, One Nation”, made famous by Francois Pienaar so many years ago at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
A week can be a long time in international sport. From the euphoria of a draw against a world class Mexican team to the spluttering display against Uraguay, Bafana Bafana find themselves with their backs against the wall in a must win game against France on Tuesday.
Defeat will see them crash out of the World Cup and in the process become the only host nation ever to not make it through to the next round.
Defeat is simply not an option for “The Boys” on Tuesday and it is time for Bafana Bafana to stand tall and realize the hopes of an entire nation rest on their shoulders.
Defeat was never part of Bafana Bafana tradition and for those of us who are around to witness the 1996 team win the African Cup of Nations, we know ‘The Boys” can make us proud.
Who can forget our defenders thwarting yet another attack in the 1990’s and the confidence that was instilled when our skipper Neil Tovey would, from the back pass the ball to the world class defender Mark Fish.
And then long before the arrival of the vuvuzela the stadium would erupt to the sound of ‘Feeesh” as fans, both black and white put their faith into a son of the soil. Instead of the vuvuzela, big plastic blow up fish were waved around as South Africa from Cape Town to Soweto acknowledged the big defender as one of their own.
With confidence the ball would be passed to the midfield when Eric Tinkler , the Iron Man would muscle off anybody who dared to challenge him before moving the ball to John “Shoes’ Mosheou. Playing with skill and verve the ball would be shuffled up to the strikers, Mark Williams and Shaun Bartlett who hunted like a pair of wolves before the opposition goal posts.
Bafana Bafana inspired confidence in their fans and fear in the hearts of the opposition and the time has come for it to happen again.
“The Boys” must be prepared to die for the cause on Tuesday night. No more of this retreating into their shell when things get tough. If France gets an early goal on Tuesday night, so be it. Stand tall Bafana Bafana stand tall.
France will never be as vulnerable as they are right now. A senior player has been sent home, the team refused to train yesterday and they are seeking a traitor in their midst who leaked things to the media.
The entire Bafana Bafana team must join Bongani Khumalo who played like his life depended on it against Uruguay. The big defender did everything he could and played with passion even in defeat.
And us, the fans must stand tall as well. Let us show the world we believe in our team and that defeat is not an option. Let us remain united as South Africans now and long after the World Cup show has left our shores. Long Life Bafana Bafana Long Life……..Long Life South Africa….Long Life……