Never has there been a time for South African Sport to experience the greatest embarrassment as was the case during the recent 2012 AFCON qualifier matches. Bafana Bafana did not qualify! To some this may not come as a surprise but to many believers, Bafana Bafana is capable of doing better indeed. So what happened? How could they not qualify for the 2012 AFCON? This is beyond shame! It is not the premature celebrations and dancing that made this painfully embarrassing. No! It is rather Itumeleng Khune’s time-wasting antics that were embarrassing, given that he and his teammates did not realize that qualifying for the 2012 AFCON was going to be based on head-to-head and not the goal difference.
The fans seemed to think that Bafana Bafana should find solace in the fact that stronger contenders, such as Egypt and Nigeria, did not also qualify for the AFCON but this does not necessarily put South Africa in good stead. However, if Bafana Bafana had qualified, without Egypt and Nigeria qualifying, that would have probably worked in favour of South Africa, and we would have stood a better chance of winning the AFCON. As it stands, Ghana and Ivory Coast probably do not consider the current qualifiers a threat and therefore must think it will not be much of a challenging tournament for them. Word of caution; they should not underestimate the other teams – you never know what might happen!
South African has not participated in the AFCON since 2008. This should be alarming given how highly we rate ourselves in the African soccer fraternity. Perhaps it would be wiser for us to now focus our energies on prepping the boys so well that we qualify for the next soccer world cup. It would be too disappointing if we missed qualifying for the soccer world cup in 2014. The Fans will always call for the Coach’s head when things go bad but we must admit, Pitso Mosimane has done well thus far. The side had done well until the wheels fell off against Niger. The jaded performance in the last game cannot be blamed on the Coach because the boys should have gone for the kill anyway. But that is soccer for you!
2011 seems to have been a year for South Africa adding salt to wounds. As if Bafana Bafana’s failure to qualify for the 2012 AFCON was not painfully embarrassing, the Boks gave the Nation’s sporting fan another reason to mourn as they exited the Rugby World Cup. The quarter final exit brought back memories of 1999 World Cup loss courtesy of Steven Larkham drop goal when Jannie De Beer managed to kick the Springboks into two extra times. Subsequently Pieter De Villiers suffered the same fate as Nick Mallet’s side that lost to the Aussies. Just as Nick Mallet, this marks the end of Pieter De Villiers’ era as Coach. In this instance, several names have come up as suitably likely replacements, and these include: Rassie Eramus, Allistair Coetzee and former Coach Jake White.
It has been doom and gloom for South African sporting fans but we cannot stay depressed forever, can we now? Perhaps next time we will do better – we have got to have hope after all.
Keep on the lookout for the cricket – I wonder how much salt one can add to a wound!