2013-09-08 10:00

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Durban was host to ecstasy and agony as Igesund’s best Bafana win ended up meaning nothing

Bafana Bafana’s hopes of reaching the World Cup in Brazil next year ended in heartbreak despite their resounding victory over Botswana yesterday.

It was a day of joy and gloom for the nation.

What started as a promising day – when the Springboks registered a historic victory in Australia – ended in despair as Bafana bowed out of the 2014 World Cup qualifying round.

The nation was given a glimmer of hope when Bafana’s Group A opponents Central African Republic (CAR) took a first-half lead against Ethiopia, who South Africans were hopinh would either lose or draw, but the east Africans scored twice in the second half to win 2-1, ending Bafana’s slim hopes.

The final whistle evoked mixed emotions from South Africans: Some felt Bafana deserved to progress further while others pointed fingers at football administrators.

But despite failing to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, it could be the dawn of a new Era(smus) for Bafana.

While the biggest negative was missing out on the trip to South America, there were a whole lot more positives in one match than there had been in Gordon Igesund’s entire first year at the helm.

First, Kermit Erasmus returned to the team, was included in the starting line-up and then obliged with the opening goal.

Then, Dean Furman not only gave a man-of-the-match performance and capped it with a brilliant goal.

Next, Bernard Parker netted a brace that saw him registering an impressive five goals in the six World Cup qualifiers.

And finally, Igesund threw in a number of youngsters – Bongani Zungu, Andile Jali and Daine Klate – who could go on to ensure that the future of Bafana is promising.

With Bafana scoring four goals for the first time under Igesund – whose tenure reached a full year on the eve of the clash against the Zebras – it would seem the building blocks are already in place for Bafana to start again – for the umpteenth time, though.

Now the big question is whether Igesund will continue as Bafana coach after failing to deliver on his two mandates given by his employers.

Firstly, he failed to qualify for the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations, which South Africa hosted this year and in which Bafana fell short in the quarterfinals.

Bafana’s failure to qualify for the last round of the World Cup qualifiers means Igesund has also failed in his more important quest.

Bafana should hold their heads high after this performance though as it will go a long way towards restoring the pride of the nation.

But will it be enough to save Igesund’s future?

After the game, Igesund said he hoped to see out his contract, which expires next year.

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