Thank you for the country the apartheid South African soccer players have been excluded from international competition for nearly 50 years. But in 1992, FIFA took the decision to allow maintaining racial diversity of South Africa’s national soccer team to return home and give them the chance to return to stage the World Cup.
The team, known locally as Bafana Bafana (The Boys) have come a long way since then. Their triumph International first took only four years after their readmission, when the team was surprised the football world by winning their first African Cup Nations title by defeating heavily favored Tunisia at home, before thousands of cheering fans at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.
The team also qualified for two of three rounds of World Cup, they were eligible to compete in, France 1998 and Japan / Korea 2002. Barely titles missing for Germany in 2006, they of course, as host country, won an automatic spot in the final competition in 2010.
The current team is a young team with great potential. Many players who play the game against national club level in England, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Netherlands and Russia. The current captain, Aaron Mokoena, is the most capped player in the history of the country and was also the youngest ever to play for the country when he made his debut at just 18 years. Probably the most famous face in the world is striker Benni McCarthy, scorer, leader country that plays for the English Premier League Blackburn Rovers.
The hope, of course, for the Association of South African football is that Bafana Bafana can display a solid performance on their territory, perhaps besting the record of the nation’s most successful African to have played in World Cup so far, Cameroon, who managed fourth place in the final in 1990.