Bafana now need Holy Grail
Comment by George Dearnaley
I was thrilled to be at the opening match of the World Cup, my second opening match in consecutive tournaments! Although many of us thought we should have, or could have won the game, I believe if Mexico had offered us a draw before the match we would have taken it.
I didn’t think the match lived up to the hype and excitement of the whole event, but they vary seldom do – everyone is cautious and a bit scared to perform at their very best. But what impressed me the most was our structure and organisation. Make no mistake, Mexico are a good team and although they didn’t play that well, I believe credit goes to our defence and our midfield for working their socks off to close down the space, the get tight on players in possession and to win the ball back in the danger areas.
Khune only had a few saves to make and this is testament to a very good defensive display.
I thought the opening ceremony was pretty slick, and although these events are choreographed mostly for television viewing, those of us in the stands had a very good idea of what was going on. It’s not easy trying to include all the elements of a World Cup into an opening ceremony, but I thought Africa was well represented and feedback from international fans I spoke to at the stadium was very positive.
Sadly, there are always things that don’t go right. There was poor signage around the stadium with regards to information on transport, and even worse was the lack of knowledge by the security staff and volunteers as to where all the transport nodes were and what was happening. We walked around for close to an hour before we found our way to the Nasrec train station, but once we got there everything was fine.
Bafana’s next match is actually the crunch match of the tournament for us – after draws in both the Group A openers, every team will be desperate for a win in the next round. Even though the French were poor against Uruguay, by the time we play them in the last group match they might have found their legs and so 3 points against Uruguay at Loftus is now our Holy Grail!
George Dearnaley played for Bafana in 1992/93 and tried his luck
in England a few times but never made it – because it’s not easy! He’s
had 6 knee operations and knows how hard it is to get up on a cold
morning. He believes Parreira is a great coach and that Bafana can get
to the second round.
George Dearnaley will be writing exclusively for Sport24 for the duration of the Soccer World Cup