It’s now only a matter of hours left until football’s biggest showpiece gets underway in Johannesburg’s magnificent Soccer City stadium. However, the journey to this historic day has been long and hard and sometimes even illusive for the many fans who held onto the dream of an African World Cup.
The road to South Africa officially begun in May 2004 when FIFA President Sepp Blatter revealed that South Africa would be the first African nation to host the prestigious tournament. I still vividly remember how the news was received in South Africa as well as on the entire continent.
Scenes of jubilant fans pouring onto the streets celebrating FIFA’s announcement remained fixed on television screens for days on end reminding many of independence celebrations they had watched or even participated in a few years ago.
After missing out on hosting the 2006 tournament by just one vote, there was no denying the Southern African nation in their re-bid as they trounced their nearest challengers Morocco by a clean 4 votes to win the 2010 hosting rights.
So 6 years later and South Africa now have the chance to prove to the world just how amazing the African experience will be. So how does SA measure up this time.
Well to be honest, as much as they have gone unbeaten in they last 12 games, Bafana Bafana are still the underdogs in Group A and with the likes of France, Uruguay and Mexico to overcome, South Africa have a hard task in making it to the next round.
Mexico on the other hand impressed by beating defending World Champions Italy 2-1 in a friendly which many had not given them any chance of even drawing. Apart from that, a major surprise is the inclusion of veteran winger Blanco. Famous for his ‘grasshopper hop’ Blanco is sure to delight fans down south with his age old trick.
South Africa’s key danger men include: Katlego Mphela ,the 23 year old has scored five goals in as many games for Bafana Bafana and is their major threat. Steven Pienaar and Kazier Chief’s Siphiwe Tshabalala.
The key players to look out for in the Mexican squad include: Arsenal’s Carlos Vela, and of course Veracruz’s Blanco. We cannot rule out home ground advantage so my preditcion for this match is 1-1. However i could be wrong.