'Bafana must not fail us'

CONCERNED: LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan. 21/11/2008. Pic. Wessel Oosthuizen. © Gallo Images.
CONCERNED: LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan. 21/11/2008. Pic. Wessel Oosthuizen. © Gallo Images.

It will be a major disaster if Bafana Bafana do not reach the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, which kicks off in Johannesburg in 46 days' time.

It will be a major disaster if Bafana Bafana do not reach the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, which kicks off in Johannesburg in 46 days' time.

This was expressed by 2010 Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan after Tuesday's monthly LOC board meeting.

Jordaan, like millions of South Africans, is worried about how Bafana will shape up against their Group A opponents, world number one Spain, Asian champions Iraq and Oceanic kingpins New Zealand.

Said Jordaan: "The bottom line is that this is the only opportunity for Bafana to get competitive matches under their belts before they compete in the 2010 World Cup."

Jordaan said that Bafana's failure to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup was a massive blow.

"The African Nations Cup would have been perfect preparation for the World Cup for Bafana. But we failed and now we have to play friendly matches except for the Confederations Cup. The Confederations Cup will show us if Bafana are ready to host the best in the world."

Jordaan pointed out that the other 31 countries that will compete alongside Bafana in the world's greatest soccer spectacle next year have gone through a tough qualifying programme to get there.

He added: "Every one of those 31 countries have faced a tough and difficult road to the finals while we have had little serious preparation. We have one and only one chance to show what we are capable of doing in 2010 and that is the Confederations Cup. It is vital that we do well and reach at least the semifinals of the Confederations Cup otherwise it will be a disaster for our World Cup hopes."

Though Jordaan is not in a position to comment on Bafana head coach Joel Santana, the Brazilian needs to pick up his socks after a string of mediocre displays in friendly matches.

Failure to do well in the Confederations Cup could mean a one- way ticket home to Brazil for Santana. The two top teams in each group qualify for the semifinals.

World champions Italy, Brazil, the United States and Egypt are in Group B.

Bafana open their Confederations Cup Group A programme with a match against Iraq at Ellis Park on June 14. - Sapa

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