Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Reality check

Bafana Bafana were brought down to earth with a heavy thud when Chile exposed the poor opposition that has in recent weeks falsely given reason to believe in the ability of Joel Santana and his boys to mix it with the best.

Some drastic changes will have to be made before the Confederations Cup kicks off in June if the country’s flag bearers are to entertain hopes of not just making up the numbers.

Coming on the backdrop of a deceiving record of five consecutive wins, Bafana Bafana were cruelly outplayed in just about every department, losing 2-0 to the South Americans.

The folly of raising hopes on the strength of results from the matches against Zambia, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea as well as depleted Ghana and Cameroon has been laid bare.

While there were flashes of brilliance from players such as Teko Modise and Lefa Tsutulupa, the truth is that the team is still way off international standards.

Even the few encouraging buildups in the midfield and scoring chances all paled into insignificance when the team failed to score a single goal.

Ranked number 30, Chile are several classes above 74th-placed Bafana Bafana but the reality is that this is the level of competition the national team should be bracing to meet in the Confederations Cup.

Drawn to tackle world champions Spain in the first round and possibly Brazil or Italy if they make it past the first round, the luxury of running rings around minnows as part of our preparations has to be abandoned.

Just as well that Santana is under no illusion about what needs to be done after watching his charges chase shadows for the better part of the game at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday evening.

”We need to play more matches against tough opposition as we prepare for the Confederations Cup and World Cup,” he said after the match.

It is also quite evident from that performance that the national team needs more time in camp to work on their own game plan.

Inspired by Udinense striker Alexis Sanchez, La Roja forced Bafana Bafana to adopt the electric pace of their game with devastating effect.

Lacking a player with the ability and sense to slow down the young visitors, the older South Africans simply failed to keep up and paid a heavy price for it.

This is the same brand of fast, attacking football that the team is likely to come up against when they take on a young Spanish side and the free-flowing samba that is Brazilian football.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Canna-business deal for Ingonyama Trust land

Foreign investment has been lined up for a joint venture with the Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers tribal land for the Zulu monarch

NPA ‘refuses’ to prosecute Oscar Mabuyane

The Hawks have accused the NPA of ‘dragging its feet’ despite voluminous evidence against the Eastern Cape premier

More top stories

ANC Durban election candidate shot dead while on door-to-door campaign

One other man was shot dead and two others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds

Rule of law drops globally, including in South Africa

Security and corruption prevents the country from ranking higher on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2021

Slice of life: ‘I can read nine or 10 books...

David van der Westhuizen, a street bookseller based at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts Gallery in Durban, tells Paddy Harper how he survives unemployment

South Africa opens up vaccinations for 12 to 17 year-olds

Vaccinology researcher Professor Shabir Madhi said young people were being vaccinated to reduce the number of people who could transmit the virus and the focus should instead be on people over the age of 50

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…