Absa Premiership

Pressing Issues: Thanks to the Bucs, we are all ‘happy people’

S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

It’s rare that the sun shines on the international front of South African football – there is rarely much to crow about. 

But lately, there is a lot of happiness among soccer-mad South Africans on matters international. 

Leading this joy is a bunch that actually calls itself the Happy People. 

When you meet someone with a puffed-up chest, sporting a smile as wide as the Pacific, preening his or her feathers and prancing around like a peacock, you will not stand much chance of losing a bet that it’s an Orlando Pirates fan. 

The Sea Robbers have been rocking the continent big time. 

They have travelled the length and breadth of Africa, leaving tears everywhere, only to be welcomed home by a sea of black and white with a sprinkling of red upon their return to the OR Tambo International Airport. 

In case you have just woken from a Rip Van Winkle-like sleep, The Buccaneers are a mere 180 minutes from being crowned champions of the CAF Confederation Cup. 

Standing between them and this honour is Étoile Sportive du Sahel, a club from Sousse in the Sahel region of Tunisia. 

In English, their name would be Sport Star of the Sahel and their followers refer to them by the moniker Diables Rouges (Red Devils). 

If (I know some would prefer when) Pirates beat Étoile in the two-legged final scheduled for the last two weekends of November and starting at the former football Mecca of South Africa, Orlando Stadium, and ending at the 25 000-seater Stade Olympique de Sousse, they will add to the Club Champions Cup (now Champions League) they won in 1995. 

This will be no mean feat, and congratulations must be directed at Dr Irvin Khoza, Eric Tinkler, Teboho Moloi, the players and everybody at Pirates who have contributed in making South Africa proud. 

In a faraway land, Chile, there is also a group of South African boys who are preparing to fly our flag high at the 16th Fifa Under-17 World Cup. 

The 21 youngsters in Chile represent the cream of the crop in their age group. 

Under the tutelage of Molefi Ntseki, they have managed to achieve the feat of becoming the first team in their group to qualify for this showpiece. 

And Bafana Bafana chipped in with a rare win against Costa Rica on Friday morning (SA time), albeit in a friendly. 

If only they can now take that winning mentality to matches that matter in serious competitions. 

They face Honduras on Tuesday in their last of two Central American sojourns. 

Banyana Banyana, who seem to be on a downward spiral after being the jewel in the South African football crown, have one more chance to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when they face Equatorial Guinea in the return leg at Estadio de Bata on Sunday. 

The South African girls are on a wing and prayer after failing to score in the first home leg at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa last Saturday. 

Should they fail to qualify, the jury will be out on their highly decorated coach, Vera Pauw. 

They still have a chance to redeem themselves, as any draw with goals would see them go through. Only a goalless draw can force the match into the dreaded penalty shoot-out. 

Still, with the Mighty Buccaneers flying (or is it sailing?) as high as they are on the continent, there is plenty to crow about, not only for the Happy People, but the country at large. 

Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku 

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