Cape Town - Thursday marks five years to the day since the 2010 Soccer World Cup kicked off in South Africa.
The tournament, despite Bafana Bafana’s early departure, remains one of the country’s finest sporting moments.
When Siphiwe Tshabalala rocketed his shot into the top right-hand corner to give Bafana a 1-0 lead over Mexico in the tournament opener, South Africa was on top of the world. That euphoria lasted 24 minutes until Mexican captain Rafael Marquez equalised, and the harsh reality is that there have not been many moments since then that have given the footballing public something to celebrate.
In exactly five years, South African football has gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, with last month’s report from the US Justice Department putting the entire World Cup legacy in jeopardy after allegations emerged that bribery secured the country the right to host the spectacle in 2010.
There have been many other disappointments along the way, but none more serious than the most recent one.
Five years later, we take a look at how South African football has moved on since the “Feel it, it is here” days.
JUNE 11, 2010
The World Cup kicks off in Soweto. Bafana Bafana take lead against Mexico through Tshabalala and the country is on cloud nine for 24 minutes until the equaliser. Bafana lose 3-0 against Uruguay and then, despite beating France, are eliminated at the group stage. Spain win a tournament that we will never forget, and Bafana leave with their heads held high after the France win.
JULY 15, 2010
Pitso Mosimane is unveiled as Bafana’s new coach after the departure of Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira. Bafana end 2010 ranked 51st in the world.
OCTOBER 8, 2011
One of the most embarrassing moments in South African sporting history. Bafana celebrate a 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone thinking they had qualified for AFCON 2012 - only to find out after the match that they had lost out to Niger. Head-to-head and NOT goal difference was used to separate sides on the same points, as Bafana learnt the hard way. Bafana end 2011 ranked 52nd in the world.
JUNE 5, 2012
Mosimane is sacked after getting Bafana off to a poor start in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
JULY 2, 2012
SAFA appoint Gordon Igesund as their new coach. His mandate is clear: qualify for the 2014 World Cup and reach the semi-finals of AFCON 2013, which SA would be hosting.
DECEMBER 17, 2012
SAFA boss Kirsten Nematandani is suspended after a FIFA report suggests match-fixing involving Bafana Bafana’s warm-up matches in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. Bafana end 2012 ranked 87th.
FEBRUARY 2, 2013:
Bafana crash out of AFCON 2013 after defeat to Mali in the quarter-finals via a cruel penalty shootout.
JUNE 16, 2013
Bafana miss out on qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but are given a lifeline when Ethiopia are later docked three points for having fielded an illegible player in the qualifiers.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
Bafana and Ethiopia both win their final qualifying matches, and this time there is no escape. Bafana have failed to qualify for Brazil 2014.
NOVEMBER 19, 2013
Bafana beat World Champions Spain in an international friendly at FNB Stadium. They end the year ranked 62nd in the world.
JUNE 2, 2014
Bafana sack Igesund.
JULY 26, 2014
Shakes Mashaba is appointed the new coach. He breezes through AFCON 2015 qualification as Bafana top their group and qualify for Equatorial Guinea undefeated - finally some good news and encouraging signs for supporters.
OCTOBER 26, 2014
Tragedy strikes as Bafana captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa is shot and killed in Vosloorus. He was 27. Bafana, meanwhile, end the year ranked 52nd.
JANUARY 27, 2015
More major tournament disappointment for Bafana as a loss to Ghana means they will not progress past the group stages at AFCON 2015.
MAY 27, 2015A report from the US Justice Department alleges that two South African football officials were involved in a ‘cash for votes’ bribery scandal that helped secure the bid to host the 2010 World Cup. Bafana are currently ranked 69th in the world.