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Breaking a nation’s spirit

2010-06-17 12:07
This is what I felt after watching Bafana’s performance against Uruguay last night. I was gutted and broken and I am sure this is what many South Africans also felt.

The title might seem a little extreme, considering I am referring to a soccer match. But there is no undermining the sheer importance and impact of Bafana’s performance in this World Cup on our home soil.

Having gone from pathetic losers during Santana’s era to a great performance going twelve consecutive matches undefeated, not only did they make us believers again, they gave us a glimmer of hope we had yet to experience in the build up to this World Cup. This cautious optimism grew to a glimmer of hope for success after an entertaining and enterprising team performance in the opening match against Mexico.

Most of us were so excited seeing Bafana play with such passion and vigour that it did not seem too fat fetched for us to expect them not only to qualify for the second round, but to even win the World Cup with the massive support of the South African public.

With this great anticipation, I certainly did not expect the result that we got against Uruguay. It hurt too much watch being beaten so comprehensively, that I felt we should have not been deceived into believing we were world beaters after just a few good performances against subpar opponents in the first place.

Maybe I am being a bit harsh, but the success of this World Cup hinges greatly on the performance of our national team. All the great vibe, optimism and spirit that you find around is partly because we truly felt and believed that our team will actually do well on the field of play. We saw it in 1995 with the Rugby world cup and in 1996 with the Africa Cup of Nations. This country is certainly capable of rising beyond great odds when its people rally behind that cause.

Is the World Cup over for us? Well, I certainly hope not. But it would be foolish for me to expect us to beat France easily and have all the other results to go our way. Qualifying for the second round is now something of an impossibility. I hope we can still achieve this, because I still have pride for my country.

 A lot of fans like me were disappointed about last night. It was sad to see fans leave the stadium with twelve minutes left as a sign of displeasure towards Bafana. Our country still needs us, and I hope we can all rise above this disappointment and show the whole world what it really means to be South African.

Win or lose, let us use this opportunity to show the world what we can achieve if we all stand together and unite as one people.

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