Sport

Tim Spirit: Bafana are our only hope – against hope

2019-06-23 16:58

The recent happenings around Bafana Bafana could be detrimental to the team’s hopes at the CAF Afcon, which is under way in Egypt.

Bafana did not have the best preparations – at least, the one that coach Stuart Baxter had hoped for – with only one lousy training match played against Ghana.

Even that warm-up game last Saturday was not a proper match because Baxter used two teams, as all but one of the players in camp played a part in the game.

The other warm-up match, against Angola, was called off at the eleventh hour this week.

This left the team without real preparations ahead of tomorrow’s opening game against Ivory Coast.

Did I hear someone whispering that Baxter already has an excuse if he doesn’t do well in Egypt?

That’s right. He will throw his toys out of the cot, blaming everyone but himself for the shoddy preparations.

Safa should shoulder the blame – as should Baxter – for this shambles. The coach could have easily used the Cosafa Cup to step up the team’s preparations.

The Cosafa tournament presented him with a perfect opportunity to try different combinations against formidable opponents.

The last time Bafana played competitively was back in March, when they beat Libya in their final qualifying match.

Maybe we must just accept that we are not a great sporting nation – how else can we describe the meltdown we have experienced recently?

Our national teams are good at raising the nation’s hopes, but best at crushing them.

Do they really know the pain they cause our people? It is only hospitals and, to some extent, Men’s Clinic that benefit from these disasters, which lead to high blood pressure and rising stress levels.

After what happened to the Under-20 Amajita, Banyana Banyana, the Proteas and the Under-19 rugby team at their respective World Cups in Poland, France, England and Argentina, you’d be forgiven for thinking Bafana would go the same route at the Afcon in Egypt.

Not that we expected anything more than we got from the choking Proteas, who once again lived up to their moniker and failed to deliver when it mattered most.

Similarly, it did not come as a shock when Banyana lost all their matches at their maiden World Cup.

I mean, they went to France without having won a game since the beginning of the year (six defeats and three draws), and to have expected them to perform miracles there would have been far-fetched.

Amajita came home empty-handed from Poland, although nothing much was anticipated from them, either.

The rugby team almost made it to the final, but lost to France in the semis on Monday.

So this leaves Bafana as the only side that can lift the nation’s morale.

We have never been so desperate for something positive to happen to us, and Bafana are our last hope.

But with the chaotic camp they had without friendly matches, I can’t blame anyone who does not give them a chance.

But I know Bafana. I have followed them for far too long not to know what they are capable of. Just when everyone has written them off, they will bounce back and prove us wrong.

As much as they are capable of – or rather, known for – shattering the nation’s hopes, they are also capable of rising to the occasion.

After all, they owe the nation a good showing after underperforming for far too long.

Their victory away in Tunisia against Libya when they needed it proved that they should not be taken lightly at the tournament in Egypt.

They might not be one of the favourites to lift the trophy, but they surely cannot be ruled out and will be one of the underdogs that could cause an upset.

In fact, the underdog tag suits them very well as they can fly under the radar undetected.

In Bafana I believe. I believe Percy Tau will roar the loudest at the tournament and make a name for himself.

I believe captain Thulani Hlatshwayo will lead the team to greater heights and Baxter will, finally, prove his detractors wrong.

Hopefully I’m not dreaming; if so, then let my dream come true.

. Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi



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January 26 2020