The Bafana Bafana of South Africa have a huge task before them. They are the host team, and are expected to provide good soccer results to help Africa perform in this FIFA World Cup, the 1st to be hosted on the African soil.
But the fact that South Africa football has not ranked the best even on the African continent, has seen an aura of cautious optimism even for people pushing their hopes behind the Bafana Bafana.
Since they won the African Cup of Nations cup in 1996 after beating Tunisia, South Africa has been unconvincing in football and will need to produce some bold notes to make their soccer history more significant.
Having qualified for this World Cup finals by virtue of being hosts, South Africa’s soccer team the Bafana Bafana will start their campaign against Mexico at the opening match of the world soccer tournament on Friday 11th 2010.
Their gallant performance at the FIFA Confederations Cup last June which they hosted, when they lost narrowly to Brazil in the semi-finals and to Spain in the third place play-off, should certainly serve as a chilling reminder to their detractors that this team, when stretched to its potential, cannot be underestimated. That tournament witnessed several impressive performances strung together by the hosts, and ultimately it was only their inability to convert cleverly-tailored moves into goals that led to their demise.
The star players of South Africa Bafana Bafana
Talented midfield maestro Steven Pienaar who plays for English Premiership side Everton is South Africa’s prize assert. In the absence of the country’s most successful striker, Benni McCarthy, who remains out of favour, Pienaar brings much-needed innovation and imagination to the team.
Together with Pienaar, the Bafana Bafana will look to wingbacks Siboniso Gaxa and the enterprising Tsepho Masilela for success at this major soccer event in their own compound.
“We are all aware that it is a huge honour to play in a World Cup on home soil; not many players have had such a privilege. We are also aware of the task that lies ahead. For us, the World Cup is our priority, it’s our biggest goal. We need to represent our country with pride,” says Aaron Mokoena, South Africa captain who plays for English Premiership side Blackburn.
South Africa will also be counting on their coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s who won the World Cup in 1994 for Brazil in the finals played in USA.
Previous FIFA World Cups by South Africa
South Africa have failed to make it beyond the group stages in either of their two previous FIFA World Cup appearances. Clearly, this is a situation they will be desperate to remedy. Their first appearance was in France 1998, six years after they had been readmitted to the global football family. Despite a 3-0 drubbing to France in their opening game, they went on to put a decent show against Denmark and Saudi Arabia, drawing against both. Korea/Japan 2002 was expected to be an opportunity for Bafana Bafana to step up to the next level but, ultimately, they flattered to deceive, crashing out after the group stage despite beating Slovenia 1-0 for their first-ever FIFA World Cup win- sourced from FIFA.
* This is South Africa’s third appearance at the FIFA World Cup. Their first participation was at France 1998 and they also qualified for Korea/Japan 2002.
* Benni McCarthy scored the country’s first goal at the FIFA World Cup in a 1-1 draw against Denmark on 18 June 1998.
* South Africa’s incumbent captain, Aaron Mokoena remains the country’s most capped player.
* South Africa hosted and won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 at their first attempt, beating Tunisia 2-0 in Johannesburg’s Soccer City. They went on to finish as runners-up at the following edition in 1998, losing to Egypt 2-0 in the final.
South Africa Bafana Bafana team Squad at 2010 FIFA World Cup
|Nr.||Name||Date of Birth||Position||Clubs||Height|
|1||Moneeb JOSEPHS||19/05/1980||GK||Orlando Pirates (RSA)||184|
|2||Siboniso GAXA||06/04/1984||DF||Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)||178|
|3||Tsepo MASILELA||05/05/1985||DF||Maccabi Haifa (ISR)||174|
|4||Aaron MOKOENA||25/11/1980||DF||Portsmouth (ENG)||183|
|5||Anele NGCONGCA||20/10/1987||DF||Racing Genk (BEL)||177|
|6||MacBeth SIBAYA||25/11/1977||MF||Rubin Kazan (RUS)||176|
|7||Lance DAVIDS||11/04/1985||MF||Ajax Cape Town (RSA)||171|
|8||Siphiwe TSHABALALA||25/09/1984||MF||Kaizer Chiefs (RSA)||170|
|9||Katlego MPHELA||29/11/1984||FW||Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)||180|
|10||Steven PIENAAR||17/03/1982||MF||Everton (ENG)||173|
|11||Teko MODISE||22/12/1982||MF||Orlando Pirates (RSA)||172|
|12||Reneilwe LETSHOLONYANE||09/06/1982||MF||Kaizer Chiefs (RSA)||173|
|13||Kagisho DIKGACOI||24/11/1984||MF||Fulham (ENG)||180|
|14||Matthew BOOTH||14/03/1977||DF||Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)||198|
|15||Lucas THWALA||19/10/1981||DF||Orlando Pirates (RSA)||170|
|16||Itumeleng KHUNE||20/06/1987||GK||Kaizer Chiefs (RSA)||180|
|17||Bernard PARKER||16/03/1986||FW||Twente Enschede (NED)||172|
|18||Siyabonga NOMVETHE||02/12/1977||FW||Moroka Swallows (RSA)||173|
|19||Surprise MORIRI||20/03/1980||MF||Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)||173|
|20||Bongani KHUMALO||06/01/1987||DF||SuperSport Utd. (RSA)||184|
|21||Siyabonga SANGWENI||29/09/1981||DF||Golden Arrows (RSA)||182|
|22||Shu-Aib WALTERS||26/12/1981||GK||Maritzburg Utd. (RSA)||188|
|23||Thanduyise KHUBONI||23/05/1986||MF||Golden Arrows (RSA)||181|