National News

Bafana's 12th man missing

2010-06-22 15:21

Bloemfontein - There was tension, but a high degree of optimism around the Free State Stadium on Tuesday prior to Bafana Bafana’s Group A third round clash against a French side in turmoil.

With just an hour to go before the 16:00 kick-off there were only a handful of fans inside the stadium.

Once again there was likely to be a late surge of supporters streaming into the stadium as the game had been sold out.

Organisers were confident Bafana’s 12th man in the Free State capital - supporters of top Premier Soccer League side Bloemfontein Celtic - would make their voices and vuvuzelas heard and try and compound the French misery.

Bafana midfielder Lance Davids tweeted that the players were “going to make the country proud”.

Both sides had to win for any chance of progressing to the next round. Both had a point each from two matches.

Fates in other match’s hands


But their fates lay with Tuesday afternoon’s other Group A match in Rustenburg, where Uruguay and Mexico would square off.

Both had four points and a draw would mean both Uruguay and Mexico progress to the last 16.

A defeat or draw would see Bafana not only become the first World Cup host nation to fall in the first round, but also the first host to finish last in their group.

Bafana need a miracle to qualify. They have to hope either Uruguay or Mexico score a big win and they defeat France, the 1998 world champions and 2006 World Cup runners, up by a 5-0 margin.

French blues

The optimism from Bafana fans stems from the fact that French players and head coach Raymond Domenech are fighting among each other.

The French players refused to train on Sunday in protest against a decision by the French Football Federation to expel striker Nicolas Anelka after the Chelsea star and Domenech had a heated row during a match last week.

Domenech said he would evaluate his players prior to the match and select only “those mentally and physically fit”.

According to Agence France Presse, French sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot reduced the French players to tears at a meeting on Monday night, telling them they had tarnished the image of France.

The problems in the side were reportedly deep-rooted, and there was tension not just between the coach and players, but between different player factions inside the camp.

Read more on:    bloemfontein

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Updated: Hottest SWC WAGs

Updated: Hottest SWC 2010 WAGs

Vote

World Cup 2010 is over and the country is returning to normal - but have you moved on yet?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.