There are signs of a nation in self-destruct mode
Or what do we say?
Seems to me we are back living in the times of one Charles Dickens.
It definitely is a tale of two cities. In a way.
Events of the past few weeks and days clearly point to a nation in self-destruct mode.
And, everything has to do with the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The euphoria of winning the bid to host the world in the game of billions overwhelmed us and, it seems, its reality has now hit us. And the chickens have come home to roost.
When all those doubting Thomases started pointing out a number of negatives in our ability to host the games, we cried foul. We blamed Eurocentricity. We blamed everyone but ourselves.
We believed they were jealous. We convinced the world that they were lying. And, the world believed us.
When we thought we had outlived the worst of times and that it could only be the best of times coming up, we woke up to the reality that we are a nation at war with itself and, by extension, with its own credibility.
As we battle to build a team that could make us proud in 2010, we find that we don't need the world media to portray us in a bad light. We can do that dirty job ourselves.
Just when we thought the issues surrounding the strike at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban had been sorted out, the same gripes have arisen at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
Just what the hell is going on?
The negative reports about our ability to host this event now emanate from us. We have to build those stadiums. We have to deliver on schedule. Of hoe se ek?
At the rate we are going, doubts are sown in us and the world must be laughing. You know when you end up being told that "we told you so".
I am getting scared.
No one should misinterpret what this column is about. Because it is about the truth.
Do we need strikes that are going to go on in episodes? Do we need soapies?
When the workers in KwaZulu-Natal threatened to call sympathy or solidarity action from their comrades in other provinces who were also building stadiums, a settlement was reached. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Sanity had prevailed from all sides. Or so we thought.
Hardly a day later, workers in the same industry in another province embark on the same kind of action. This is worrying.
This issue is also compounded by the fact that we are also still not sure whether we have a team good enough to make us proud in the Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, the Confederations Cup that we will host in 2009 and the main one, the real McCoy in 2010.
Just this past week we have seen both sides of Bafana Bafana. The worst and the best.
On Saturday, our superstars huffed and puffed through 90 minutes of hell against the United States. One would not like to take anything away from the Yankees, but we should be able to do better than what we did in that loss. We had everybody we thought was anybody in our team.
The reaction to that game was one of anger from the nation. Disappointment is an understatement.
Then on Tuesday, Bafana Bafana faced Canada. The story was different. It was a team of locals that took to the Kings Park stadium in Durban. The hunger was there from the first whistle.
We could have buried them as early as the first 10 minutes with three good attempts. That we only managed a 2-0 scoreline gives credit to the Canadians.
They kicked our boys to pieces. But, that's football. It was once called a man's game.
Maybe there is something to learn from the two games. But, are we going to learn the same thing from them?
What do we need?
Experienced overseas-based players or hungry young local boys? You be the judge.
This week, all eyes are on Durban as the Federation of International Football Associations gathers for the preliminary draw. We are excited. We are also concerned. What will they be reading about in the media? Strikes at World Cup stadiums? A team that's busy sliding down the Fifa rankings faster than children at a playground slide?
We all have to wake up and smell the coffee.
In the meantime we can only hope for the best and that sanity prevails all round.
Thanks God for Teko Modise.