In the lead up to the World Cup in 2010, Bafana Bafana (the local name for the South African national football team) were undeniably brilliant. They won friendlies against everyone, and suddenly the nation believed we had a chance. Even in the competition, they played well: beating France and drawing with Mexico (including “that goal”). They went out in the first round, but they went out with their heads held high.
However, it’s been a different (or rather, indifferent) team since then. One miserable performance after another has left them the laughing stock of the nation. They slipped to 84th in the FIFA rankings (albeit with no lucrative Afcon qualifiers to play).
This year, nothing improved: a 0-1 defeat against Norway’s B team, followed by a goalless bore draw against Algeria further depressed and angered us. Then only managing another 0-0 against the Cape Verde Islands (population 500,000) in the first Afcon game had most of us reaching for the bottle. Again.
But suddenly, somehow, the nation believes once more. Because Bafana beat Angola 2-0 on Wednesday evening and suddenly everything is rosy again. Helpful results elsewhere mean that even a draw against Morocco will see us through tomorrow evening.
People are excited and none more so than our erstwhile Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile April Mbalula, who… er… had this to say:
(Please excuse me for reproducing it in full, but really, you must read it in full for the “full” effect.)
We stand here this morning as a proud and confident nation imbued by the resounding thrashing, walloping and gregarious defeat of the Angolan national football Team in Ethekwini by the our astonishing and call-heading warriors Bafana- Bafana, the crown jewel of the nation of the most popular sport in our country and the world over.
Like true warriors and combat ready soldiers, our national Team turned the misfortune of being denied goals in the warm up matches and first game versus Cape Verde into a promising and pending festival of goals during our last game against Angola. You the people of South Africa headed the clarion call:
To support our Team in the spirit and dictum of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Seaparankwe) our national hero and international icon when he said that leaders and winners show the stripes of their true colours not in conditions of easiness but it is through difficult circumstances that a real leader emerges and survive. As we have come to know and acknowledge that social condition throw up concrete circumstance from which leaders emerge and chart a new a path into the future.
To this day we know that the nation was disappointed and dismayed that Bafana Bafana were not resolute and determined in our quest for excellence and for quality and thus succumbing to foreign tendencies of negative media reporting and being bullied on the social networks. Not that they were not patriotic, but, it was a sign of not accepting the fact that in sport there is lose, draw or win. But your characteristic of a leap of hope and faith in our national team and never die spirit gave rise to our deep understanding and personification of the adverb that – “birds of the same feather flock together” and which propelled our Team to the 2 – 0 victory in our last game against Angola.
After all you remain a constant reminder to the national Team never to abandon a sport code that is an oasis of hope, livelihood and symbol of nationhood to us and billions of people around the globe.
To this extent your wish and hope that Bafana Bafana must win came through two days ago and for the reason that prompted Chief Albert Luthuli to pronounce at his life time and age that the Tempo is quickening- Asijiki, Siyaya phambili.!!! The Cup will be hoisted aloft by President Jacob Zuma and will be delivered to our people as a symbol and meaningful contribution to the quest for peace and unity of purpose amongst Africans here at home and in the Diaspora.
Our Team has once and for all unequivocally demonstrated that there is neither room nor place for prophets of doom and unpatriotic Johnny-come-lately in our national fiber, constitution and make up. We are a unique brand! Born in struggle and baptised in revolutionary fires!
In defeat we show unreserved humility and in success we deservedly glow and shine amidst the thunderous ululations, passionate singing, salutations of endearment and deafening blowing of the Vuvuzela’s that have become a trade-mark of football culture in our mother-land South Africa.
As millions of our South Africans patriots, African compatriots and curios and friendly spectators are witnessing and bearing testimony to another African extravaganza and spectacle unfolding and beaming in front of their human and mortal eyes, we are re-assured by our own collective realisation and laudable foresight of our fore-bears that the time for the re-awakening of the embedded and God-given talent within the African continent and her people looms largely on our horizon.
The evolutionary and revolutionary duty lies with the current generation to discharge its historical mission of delivering human solidarity, social progress, peace and stability through-ought the nook and cranny of our beloved continent leveraging on sport, amongst others, as a platform and medium for peace and total emancipation of the toiling and down trodden peace-loving people of Africa.
It is in this context that our eyes are cast way beyond explosive celebrations and symbolic ceremonies to embarking on concrete steps for the realisation of the African dream of a meaningful transformation and impactful development. Our National Development Plan, of which the National Sport and Recreation Plan is an intrinsic part and the Millennium development goals, lends to us the possibility and ability to lay and consign the ghosts, of Jan Van Riebeek, of Cecil John Rhodes, and of Verwoerd to the dustbin of history as we unite and democratise our country through sport and recreation.
The moment for which the majority and caring South Africans have been waiting for have now arrived. South Africa this is your time, we must all seize the moment as we take on Morocco this Sunday at the magnificent and majestic Moses Mabhida stadium.
We must support our brothers as we did amidst thunderstorms and heavy rains as our peoples’ determination and soul were not deterred by the bad weather as they gathered at the national stadium in Johannesburg, in South Africa for the official opening of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013. An African extravaganza and humdinger that was also observed and broadcast live through the nook and cranny of the African continent.
We ourselves as South Africans have been engrossed in the preparations to ensure sufficient readiness of our national team Bafana Bafana! Whilst at the same time extending our warm reception to our fellow African compatriots imbued by the spirit of Ubuntu, the highest state of humanity.
As the games progresses without any major hindrances, a sigh of relief beaconed our souls and fuel our patriotism and hope for the renaissance of the African Continent.
In the forthcoming games we need to ensure that our team score the requisite goals to reciprocate the good gesture of support from the Commander in Chief, President Zuma and from fellow South Africans. We must all play our part in ensuring that we all feel the stadiums in all the remaining and support all the teams and beat the drums for all the teams, right at the foot of the African Continent.
From now going forward we have it within ourselves to ensure that our national symbols such as our flag, the National Anthem and the Bafana Bafana jersey reign supreme in our consciousness and visibility throughout the length and breath of our country. We appeal to the host cites and all provinces to devise go to war plans and game plan campaigns that will sustain the current moment and lift us all to highest heights of the prestigious championship.
Government has also noted with shock the 419 scammers who are using the AFCON and Government respectable logos to attempt to solicit money from our soccer-loving nation. Please be warned that no Government Department is currently running any competition on the Afcon 2013. You would therefore not allow yourself to present any individual with your banking details or any personal information.
Wave the FLAG. We can see the colours of the rainbow.
Phambili Mawethu!! Ukwanda Kwaliwa ngumthakathi!!!
No. That’s actually genuine. Not a lost page of the pilot script for The Dictator.
There’s plenty to analyse and decrypt within that press release, but since I firmly believe that Bafana will get through to the quarter finals (thus succumbing to foreign tendencies of negative media etc etc.), I think I’ll save it to see what sort of reaction Fikile has then.