Where's our army?

2010-04-27 00:00

AYBO, this thing is just six weeks away now.

What the heck happened to this first quarter of the year?

I don’t think we are going to make it.

I don’t mean the stadia — heck, Moses Mabhida is a sight that would cure any pessimistic disease in the time it takes to bungee jump from the 106-metre platform.

The logisitics are in place — no need to worry about that.

Even Bafana Bafana are doing their best to get a pattern going by touring the world for a tournament that they will be hosting.

As curious as that sounds — and rather expensive, may I add — all we can do now is leave it to the Brazilian grandfather in charge, and hope to goodness he sprinkles a little stardust into our strikers’ shoes and the country can really have a party.

Which leads me to the point of this piece.

We are in trouble as a nation.

Yes, we will find a way to house a few hundred thousand strangers across our land, and we will also have a strong word with the man upstairs about the weather.

As things stand, we may have more luck controlling the elements than securing power at all our stadia.

If the power cuts that have crippled Hilton are anything to go by, the Local Organising Committee may need to hand a candle to each fan at the gate before games. Just in case.

I have had cousins driving down the hill twice a week from Hilton, as they had to charge everybody’s cellphones and catch a bit of Generations.

Us darkies are not too fussy, but we really can’t live without a freshly pressed pair of chinos to go with the loud shirt, and a daily dose of the goings on of the Morokas and the Mashabas.

At first it was amusing, but when the power cuts hit our neighbourhood, no one was laughing.

There is nothing quite like a cold bunny chow you cannot reheat to bring you back to reality with a bang.

But I digress.

The biggest problem facing us ahead of the World Cup is our lack of unity.

Now don’t get me wrong.

We are a Rainbow Nation and all that — my list of friends reads like a United Nations conference guest list — but as Bafana fans, we are disgustingly woeful.

Do you remember the British and Irish Lions tour?

Of course we do, and that Morne Steyn deserves the freedom of Loftus, but that is not my point.

Do you remember the sea of red that trailed the Lions team wherever they went?

For a second, it was like the Battle of Blood River all over again, so resplendent they were in their gear.

Most of us think we can just rock up with a new South African flag, and we have done our bit.

To borrow a British term, bollocks.

In the summer, we hosted the English cricket team. Those who were at Kingsmead when those blerrie Pommies stuffed us thanks to Stuart Broad making the ball dance like a five-year-old with too much sugar in the system, will know that the Durban stadium was taken over by a few thousand English people, proudly belting out their list of songs for their heroes.

The Barmy Army, they call themselves.

My gripe is simple.

Where the hell is our choir?

Call it the Vaalie Army, the Rainbow Station or the Madiba Band for all I care, but we need an instantly recognisable legion of hardcore fans who will lead the masses in song — and hopefully inspire Benni McCarthy to sprint after through-balls with the same enthusiasm that he shows when he hears the lunch bell ring.

And while we are at it, let us please stop claiming the Mexican wave as our own.

For crying out loud, we are playing the sombrero wearers in the first game of the tournament.

Crime has been a buzz word for South Africa ever since we were told we were hosting this show six years ago, so let us not fuel the fire by consistently laying claim to trends that are clearly not ours.

Like that French horn or trumpet thingie that has now become part of the stadium experience — sort of like a bourgeois vuvuzela.

Again, people, it is not our idea. We stole (there is that crime — again) that from the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Now it pipes up at all our rugby games, and even in the IPL, thanks to when we hosted the slog-athon last year.

Hello, it is French!

And as it is, we play those handballing experts in our final group game.

Crikey, one has to wonder what Uruguay has created that we have ingeniously claimed as local and therefore lekker.

It’s just not on, people.

I see no reason why we cannot assemble our own symbol of support.

I mean, let us just look at our different cultures.

Song is part of all our lives.

From us darkies and our long history of struggle songs — which have become strike anthems — through to Anglo-Saxon schools whose tradition encourages schools to belt out support for their first rugby team on Saturdays, and right through to our coloured people who dazzle down the streets of Cape Town at the start of each year.

At the moment, though, we are all colour and creativity, but no co-ordination.

We have the ingredients, and now we just need a bit of direction.

I say we should get those chaps from the Vodacom adverts.

You know them, Alton and Jan.

They have already achieved hero status for being super fans, so let them become our choir masters.

And while we are sweeping things up with a new broom, let us ditch Shosholoza.

I was at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the friendly against Namibia recently, and I can confirm that 95% of the crowd actually does not know the words.

So we need new songs, new choir masters and, most pressingly, a new image.

We cannot have this reputation of the nation on the tip of Africa that steals every­thing it sees, smells or even hears.

Bheki Cele has promised to keep the thieves quiet for the most important month in this country’s life.

But even the FBI can’t do much about our knack of pinching punchlines from other nations.

We are like the piracy kings of the stadia.

It has to stop, and this is a written plea for someone to stand up and galvanise a new breed of fan.

Crime is not the answer.

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