Time to stand up and be counted for Bafana

Bafana Bafana are faced with the mammoth task of shifting to top gear to improve their shameful 83rd spot on the Fifa rankings in the next five days.

Bafana Bafana are faced with the mammoth task of shifting to top gear to improve their shameful 83rd spot on the Fifa rankings in the next five days.

This they will have to do by registering impressive wins against the United States in Johannesburg on Saturday and against little-known football nation Canada in Durban on Tuesday.

On paper this is not an impossible task at all, more so if South Africans can remember that in soccer, like all sports, for teams to perform well, the 12th player must be part of the equation.

It is my gut feeling that the usually poor Gauteng crowds can stand up and be counted, particularly at the Ellis Park match against USA.

What with two of South Africa's most successful teams meeting in the final of the prestigious Telkom Knockout on December 1. There must therefore be lots of positive speak around, all because of this pending clash.

Unlike in the past weeks, the air should be less tense due to the ongoing Premier Soccer League sponsorship bonus debate, something similar to the ANC's heated succession battle.

Shhh, don't say we didn't tell you that some of the PSL club bosses actually belong to the warring ANC camps. Anyway, let's leave this to the political analysts to dissect for you.

Much as one accepts that football matters sometimes need robust debate in order to map out the future, football is more about what takes place on the field of play, methinks.

Yes, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns will meet in the final on December 1, a grudge match in more ways than one.

If we love the game of football we will all make an attempt to be there, but first we need to be at Ellis Park stadium on Saturday and thereafter go down to Durban on Tuesday for the match against Canada.

This message is directed more to Gauteng-based fans of Bafana Bafana who also happen to be supporters of Amakhosi, The Brazilians, Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, Bidvest Wits, Moroka Swallows and SuperSport United.

As for now, Free State boasts the most vocal supporters - Siwelele sa Masele - who swear by Bloemfontein Celtic.

Sadly though, Gauteng supporters tend to be angry with everybody when their teams are not doing well, but not so with Siwelele.

A day before they were due to travel with Celtic for their away match against AmaZulu in Durban, they still found time to be at Free State stadium when South Africa met Zambia in the final of the Cosafa Cup. They went there because Bafana Bafana is their national team, and they proudly sang and danced.

Above all they sang special songs for these beloved boys of ours.

You cannot therefore be surprised that Safa's partners, South African Breweries through their Castle Lager brand, have officially invited 2 000 Siwelele members to be at the coming two matches to give moral support to the team.


This is therefore more than a challenge to football followers in Gauteng.

It is also a challenge to Gauteng political leaders to do more than bombard us with slogans like "The home of Champions".

The provincial government needs to be seen to be backing initiatives to help pack stadiums, as the brewery is attempting.

The enthusiasm shown by people like Sello "Mr Magic" Nduna, Celtic's public relations officer, also needs to be taken advantage of.

Safa needs to help in looking beyond organising 2000 spectators for a match, but should in fact facilitate the formation of an official Bafana Bafana fan club.

This fan club must in turn be affiliated to the Fifa- recognised Football Supporters International (IFS) by January.

This can't be a tough call.

For the coming matches Sports Indaba's message to the team is: Lat hulle dans, Bafana!

See you at the "Park of Pain" on Saturday.