Bafana Bafana Lose to Street Smart Uruguay

June 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Posted in World Cup 2010 | 8 Comments

Poor South Africa.  They managed to convince FIFA to give them the World Cup, and then timed the hosting of it it with a very poor generation of South African players.

Those of you who have seen Invictus starring Morgan Freeman will know the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup where underdogs South Africa took the trophy on home soil against all odds, defeating mighty New Zealand in the final.  I believe many South Africans hoped the same miracle could happen twice.   Sadly, such hopes were dashed by a cute little blonde called Diego Forlan.

When England went out of the 1992 European Championships at the hands of Sweden, a little boyish looking striker called Thomas Brolin scored the goal that put them out.  One English commentator hilariously asked: “how could someone so cute do so much damage?”   It was the same today as Forlan scored two goals to break South African hearts.

Forlan and Uruguay played a master class of street smart football today.  The key moment of the match was the penalty decision when Suarez was “brought down” by South Africa’s keeper Khune, who was summarily sent off.   This incident illustrates the folly of FIFA’s automatic send-off where a keeper brings down a player in the box.  The game was delayed for at least 5 minutes as the arguments and substitutions for a new keeper were made.  The keeper should be given a yellow and allowed to stay on unless he tried to deliberately injure the player in the process.   The pass through which resulted in the penalty was offside as well.   This is how street smart teams like Uruguay grind out goals to win.

Controversial penalty aside, South Africa were clearly the inferior team, not getting a shot on Uruguay’s goal until the second half of play.  Uruguay was a constant threat to score and kept SA pinned in their own end with some magnificent football. Amazing how a football-mad nation of 3.5 million people can defeat a football-mad nation of 50 million people. Uruguay’s proud tradition of football won today.  That tradition includes two world Cups, won in 1930 and 1950 (on Brazilian soil, no less) and a semi-final in 1970.

So far the South African World Cup has been fantastic, (although thus far it has been dominated by defenders, not strikers) and South Africa deserves tremendous credit.  What a shame this generation of South African players is not up to the task.



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  1. I think SA people are more into rugby than football. It is covered in some articles. But, we all have to appreciate all the teams here. They have done their best. i agree with you on the part that the world cup is dominated by defenders. I want to see more offensive playing!

  2. In South Africa Rugby was traditionally the sport of the whites and football was traditionally the sport of blacks. That has changed a bit since the fall of Apartheid. You will notice almost all of the Bafana Bafana are black, and most of the SA rugby team is white.

  3. Re: Forland. Cute? Really? I don’t know anything about Brolin, but I know Diego Forlan, and his heavy feature make for a pretty grim mug, gold locks notwithstanding. “Cute” is not a word I would label Senor Forlan with! =)

    Since there are waaaay more blacks than whites in South Africa, and since blacks (generally) prefer soccer, it is soccer that is by far the most popular sport: rugby and cricket get the press because they are good, but far more South Africans are soccer fans than rugby and cricket put together. One thing I was happy to see: many white South Africans mixedin with black South Africans chatting about the game and joking around. That made me very happy!

    • I agree with you Jeremy, in fact the sight of both Whites and blacks celebrating the game and SA’s World Cup demonstrates a new identity and pride in SA is perhaps beginning to emerge in spite of the terrible problems they face.

      God I love Nelson Mandela! If not for him, SA would not have gotten the World Cup. Too bad he could not make the opener because of a family loss. I hope he will show up later. if so, pass me a tissue because I will be in tears!

  4. I am a bit disappointed in Bafana, nonetheless I am still behind them 1200%.

    But what worries me is the fact that, I mean, any Tom, Dick and Harry can see that we were under pressure since the 1st 15min of the game.
    * Why didn’t the coach made any changes?
    * Why was Mathew Booth left on the bench beside being a ganestopper?
    * Why was Pienaat sent off instead of Modise?

    It’s about time that people do realise that Modise is no “Wonderboy” anymore, he can’t go on and live under the yesterday light, he must come up and start playing.

    If we can’t win with all the advantages that we had,i.e. weather, 1000% Bafana Support, Homeland, Madiba Blessing,etc

    What will it take for Bafana to realise that?


    • Tsepo: Thanks for your comments and I certainly feel your pain. Unfortunately, your coach only has so much to work with. An artist can only paint with the brushes and colours available, and Pereirra is stuck with only a few unattractive shades of grey, and a couple of broken sticks.

      I think South Africans will have to console themselves with hosting a superb event because Bafana Bafana are poor. All you can hope for is a total collapse of the French team, which in my view is unlikely. The French may yet find their pride in this tournament.

      Because the French are so miserable in this tournament, I will support Bafana Bafana in that game.

      Perhaps Madiba will show up to give them courage. I hope so because I love Mandela!

  5. I must complement in this instance, Whitecapsfan with almost a hint of compassion for the South African fans, I did find myself with some dry tears when the realisation was there during that game that No, Bafana Bafana isn’t going to advance but they got the World Cup and they’ve hosted a number of other sporting events. There’s plenty of pride. The world cup often brings out good in countries and I really don’t mean the ultimate winners very often but a lot of the subplots involved in getting there.

    • Agreed. The real triumph for South Africa was always going to be hosting the World Cup. It would have been nice to see them get out of the group, but their group with Uruguay, France, and Mexico is the other “Group of Death” in which they are the weakest team.

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