32 Countries in 32 Days: Group A: South Africa
Well Ladies and Gentlemen, in 33 days, the World will stop. The World will stop and turn on their TVs to watch 32 compete to win the most coveted cup in futbol history: The World Cup. This gold cup, with a person holding the world, is the most cherished award for a national team. Favorites have already been decided and underdogs will rise. In this 32 day tour, I will be covering each and every team, going group by group analyzing each and every team and their chances. I will predict how far they'll travel in this gauntlet of National teams, tell of their star players, and show weaknesses. The day before the tournament, I will run through each and every match picking winners. In the end, one will win, one will hoist the cup, and one country has bragging rights for the next four years. With France and Mexico out the way, we move our tour on...
Trots is meer belangrik as Herkenning...
This saying translates to 'Pride is more important than recognition'. In this case, that saying/quote epitimizes what the Republic of South Africa, the host nation, wants to make sure they accomplish. This team knows they won't go too far, especially with the group they were handed. Mexico, France, and Uruguay will not be easy opponents, not the least bit. They go in as underdogs to make it out of their group, let alone make any noise in the rest of the tournament. However, they have spirit.
Squad: The South African squad really has no big names. The main players one might recognize are Benni McCarthy(West Ham), Steven Pinnear(Everton), Aaron Makoena(Portsmouth), and Matthew Booth(Mamelodi Sundowns). Of those players, two are forwards and two are defensemen. Of the 29 players currently named on the provisional roster, only 10 are Europe based; the rest play in the African Premier League. The team plays very techincal, with very little room for creativity. They play 'efficient' futbol. Meaning, solid passing, some movement, and looking for the right shot and not wasting opportunities. Once they go up, they "lock up shop" and go into an ultra defensive mode.
Strengths: Home. Field. Advantage. Knowing that they are playing in front of the home nation, it adds that little extra 'umph' to do better. This is where the pride quote comes into play. When one plays in front of the respected nation you're from, one wants to make sure that they impress or do well. In addition, the noise that is going to be made when they take the pitch will be deafning. All the horns and drums are going to erupt when the bright yellow and green jerseys begin to fill the pitch, all of them representing a bigger cause.
Weaknesses: No Talent. Sad to say, but outside of Makoena and Pinnear, the South African nation doesn't have that dynamic player. Given, they don't produce the best futbol players anyways. It is hard to when your country seems to always be in political turmoil or has something going on within the nation disrupting the people. Just because they are in front of the home crowd doesn't mean they'll be going places. Their group is just too tough.
Prediction: Not much to say here. Yes they are the host nation but I do not see them going past the group stages. South Africa might be able to steal a win from one of the other teams, but not enough to get them past the group. Sadly, the South African nation will hold the World Cup without their respective team in it causing a stir.
Tune in later as I wind up Group A with Uruguay!