Bafana: I’m hoping against hope

2013-01-17 14:25

It’s difficult to find fans positive about Bafana Bafana doing the country proud at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

It’s almost impossible to find someone who believes they’ll lift the trophy.

Yes, Bafana aren’t scoring goals. Yes, their build-up to the tournament has been nothing short of pitiful. And yes, on paper they are one of the lowest-ranked teams participating.

But there’s a big difference between 85th placed Bafana playing Norway in a friendly and Afcon hosts Bafana taking on Cape Verde Islands at the National Stadium.

Stats don’t take into account home advantage. It’s no coincidence that the host nation has won the tournament eleven times.

Going into the 2010 World Cup, I expected Bafana to make such a mess of things that we’d be remembered less for the screeching vuvuzelas and more for being the hosts who allowed their guests to feast on them.

We did end up becoming the first hosts to be knocked out in the group stages but we held our own against the Mexicans and we stunned the shambolic French.

We were disappointed but not disgruntled with the team’s performance.

We have an easier time of it now even though we are the lowest-ranked team in the group. We really should beat Cape Verde.

If we score those elusive goals and win then maybe the team and the nation will believe again. It’s time for Majoro, Mphela, Parker and co to step up to the plate. It’s time for Gordon Igesund to justify his appointment as national team coach.

I’m not saying that I’m optimistic of Bafana winning the tournament.

But I’d like to think that Bafana will pleasantly surprise the nation and reach the semifinals.

Hell, I’d even settle for a quarterfinal. And if we don’t make it past the group stage – well, we’ve perfected and polished the art of disappointment since 1996.

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