Being the hosting nation of the FIFA World Cup to be held next year, there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around South Africa’s performance in this year’s edition of the Confederation Cup not only just among the population of South Africa but among fans and experts of the game everywhere in the world. The team which fondly goes by the nickname of Bafana Bafana returned to the international circuit in the year 1992 after a prolonged ban by FIFA due to certain apartheid related issues.
At this moment the squad that will represent their country in the Confederation Cup will most likely be selected from goalkeepers Brian Baloyi, Itumeleng Khune, defenders Tsepo Masilela, Bradley Carnell, Aaron Mokoena (captain), Nasief Morris, Morgan Gould, Matthew Booth and Siboniso Gaxa, midfielders Kagiso Dikgacoi, Lance Davids, Siphiwe Tshabalala, MacBeth Sibaya, Thulasizwe Mbuyane, Teko Modise, Masilo Modubi, Siyabonga Nkosi, Thabo Nthethe and Steven Pienaar along with forwards Katlego Mphela, Bernard Parker and Benedict McCarthy. Besdies, there has also been a few recent call ups made which include Rowen Fernández, Bongani Khumalo, Innocent Mdledle, Bafo Biyela, Delron Buckley, Dean Furman, Surprise Moriri, Matty Pattison, Lerato Chabangu and Sthembiso Unpoco. Out of the lot, it seems that most of people are going to keep a keen eye on the captain Aaron Mokoena who is ahead of the rest of the pack both in terms of age as well as experience having played 81 games at an age of 32. The other player who is predictably going to grab a lot of attention throughout the tournament is their top scorer till now Benedict McCarthy with 31 shots in the net.
Taking a glance towards the team’s performance till now in the international level since their reentry in 1992, one cannot say that they have a highly impressive set of data and statistics to display. However at the same time certain occasional flashes of achievements does not allow critics to point their fingers and question the team’s potential or ability. Since their international comeback, they have managed it to secure a berth in the FIFA World Cup on two occasions, once in 1998 and the next time in 2002. However on both the occasions they left the tournament from Round one itself. However, they have a much better sat of fact and figures regarding their achievements in the African Nations Cup which is a competition among the African football playing nations and held every two years. Although they failed to qualify for the first time in ’94, in 1996 they entered the tournament and emerged as a major soccer power as they ended up as the Champions. They more or less succeeded in maintaining a consistent show in the following editions finishing runner up and third in 1998 and 2000 respectively. But somehow they have seemed to lose the edge as their performance has deteriorated in the recent years and in the last three editions they have left the competition from first round only. However, under coach Joel Santana they are definitely showing a lot of promise to their fans.