Following England’s magnificent ICC Champions Trophy victory over South Africa in Centuwiwon last night, they find themselves in the semi-finals while the hosts find themselves dumped out of the competition. And I find myself with a bucketload of upset Saffas all over my England-supporting back.
Which is actually a bit unfair.
I will (and do) support South Africa at any sporting occasion unless they are playing England. And I feel that that is a more than reasonable way of going about things. The argument that “if you’re going to live here, you must support South Africa full stop” just doesn’t cut it.
After all, if you were going overseas, would you suddenly stop supporting the Boks? Of course not.
And I have to take the rough with the smooth. And there’s been a lot of rough since I moved over here. The 2007 Rugby World Cup would be one notable bit of rough. But while I was unhappy that England lost, I was at least magnanimous in defeat. Mostly, anyway.
Flying the flag on my car this morning
My only gripe about SA sport and SA supporters is the hint of arrogance that has crept in since their recent successes in cricket and rugby. It’s not pleasant to see and it’s unfortunate. The Boks “Justice 4” campaign, when they tried to suggest that they were bigger than the game, is a good example. It detracts from achievements on the field and they were lucky to get away as lightly as they did.
The arrogance comes when teams and fans get used to winning. You see it in sport, you see it in politics, you see it in business.
It makes losing harder to take. But that’s still no excuse.
Last night, the world’s number one ODI team was wholly outplayed by a spirited England side. Beaten fair and square. Anyone claiming otherwise is nothing more than a sore loser.