Uruguay aim to silence Bafana
Johannesburg - South Africa's dream of going beyond the first round of the Soccer World Cup will be tested on Wednesday by Uruguay.
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South Africa drew Mexico 1-1 in the World Cup opener last Friday while Group A rivals Uruguay and France played to a goal-less draw, leaving both spots in the last 16 up for grabs and adding tension to their next matches.
"Uruguay will be in trouble if we carry on where we left off against the Mexicans," said South African midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, whose opening goal of the tournament was the first World Cup goal on African soil.
"A win against Uruguay will virtually seal our passage into the second round and make the nation even prouder."
But the not-so-secret weapon of Bafana Bafana, the vuvuzela, is under fire from organisers and might even be banned.
World Cup organising committee chairman Danny Jordaan said the vuvuzela can be banned if a reason exists, as broadcast firms that paid king's ransoms to telecast the World Cup complain the noise nearly drowns out commentary.
"We've tried to get some order," said Jordaan. "We're trying to manage the best we can. We heard from the broadcasters and individuals and it's something we are evaluating on an on-going base."
France captain Patrice Evra, who is on the side of a vuvuzela ban, said after their game against the South Americans that the noise was a factor in the draw, "We can't hear one another out on the pitch because of them."
South African captain Aaron Mokoena called vuvuzelas "our 12th man that we need. It's our weapon. We don't mind vuvuzelas at all."
On the same Loftus Versfeld pitch where Ghana beat Serbia 1-0 on Sunday to become the first African side to win a World Cup match on African soil, South Africa will seek a stunning victory after an emotional draw with Mexico.
"We've got to build from the first game," Mokoena said. "The confidence is still there among the boys."
Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar said his side will be no less formidable than against Mexico.
"We just have to go on," Pienaar said. "We can only get better now."
They will need it. Uruguay won 4-3 and drew 0-0 in prior matches with South Africa and Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez knows his South American side will need every point it can get to avoid being left out of the last 16 itself.
"All the teams are on the same footing now," he said. "The group is now evenly balanced and the next games will be crucial."
Uruguay striker Diego Forlan, an Atletico Madrid standout, will be a formidable challenge for South Africa centreback Bongani Khumalo, but also a great inspiration for him to produce his finest hour.
"Diego is a world-class footballer, but the whole point of playing in this tournament is to test yourself against the best," Khumalo said. "There is no fear of Forlan nor Uruguay."
KEY TO MATCH:
On the field, it figures to be how well Khumalo and Bafana Bafana's defence can do against Forlan, shutting down the South Americans' overall attack.
Off the field, the issue of overwhelming vuvuzela noise could be the bigger deal as a silenced stadium of mere screams, cheers and yells would hardly do justice to the passion of the hosts' supporters.