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Why I am routing for South Africa to win the 2010 world cup

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

There was no pre-tournament bus trip through the streets of South Africa for the Springboks back in 1995. The Springboks of 1995 were a nervous lot, anxious about playing Australia in the first game in Cape Town.

As a small democracy struggling to form a collective national identity, the Boks were still a team of the old South Africa, very white and not quite right.

 They beat Wallabies convincingly in opening match changing all this. As a nation, South Africa has something of an inferiority complex, wanting the world to love it, almost groveling at times to make sure it gets attention.

Then they beat Australia, then France, and incredibly against all odds, New Zealand with Jonah Lamu. And on June 24th 1995, South Africa made history by winning the rugby world cup. On that day the phrase ‘Madiba Majic’ was born.

In Sandton on Wednesday, thousands of South Africans sought to recapture that spirit and amplify it. They came out to celebrate being south Africans and hosting the World Cup. To rekindle the memory of 1995, when everything was possible.

The World Cup history does not favour the hosts as much. Of the 18 editions that have been held thus far, the hosts have won six times. Two of those victories were in 1930 in Uruguay and 1934 in Italy.

In most other editions the hosts have fallen like the proverbial nine pins. It takes more than just being the hosts to win this tournament. Ask Mexico, hosts in 1970 an again in 1986. on both occasions they were kicked out at the quarter-final stages.

But guess what, the 1970 and 1986 World Cups are considered amongst the best ever. The attendance was impressive. The vibrancy of the tournament is increased when the home side remains in contention for longer, as was the case in Korea/Japan 2002 when, against all odds, the Koreans advanced to the semi-finals before their unlikely adventure was ended by a clinical German side.

But truth be told, 2002 will never rank up there in terms of standards, epic matches and great teams.

The World Cup is the ultimate football spectacle, competed by the best teams and players. There are very many foreign fans in attendance, guaranteeing brimming stadiums.

History has proved that home advantage always plays a part in a major tournament, particularly the FIFA World Cup. Six of the seven world champions have won on their own turf, Brazil being the exception (beaten finalists as hosts in 1950).

England and France won their only title as hosts, Uruguay, Italy and Argentina won their first titles as host nation, while Germany won their second title on home soil.

The 2010 hosts are the lowest ranked hosts of a World Cup in history. Currently ranked 88th in the FIFA rankings, they sit below New Zealand.

With all these odds against them, I have confidence in the Bafana Bafana to lift the 2010 World Cup as hosts, considering that this is the first time its being played on African soil.

Ear worm- Waka Waka By Shakira

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