South Africa out but not down

From early morning South African football fans came out in their thousands. With flags around their necks, Bafana Bafana tops on their backs and vuvuzelas on their lips, fans across the country united in support for the national team, up against the mighty Brazil in the second semi-final clash of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Over 48 000 people came to the game hoping to see Bafana Bafana beat the mighty Brazil, but it wasn't to be. This is the third time that Brazil and South Africa have met on the football pitch, with Brazil winning on all three occasions. 

Though there was no fairytale end for the home side, South Africa bowed out of the tournament with a new sense of hope and excitement of what next year's FIFA World Cup may hold for the host nation.

"I'm gutted, we came so close," said 21-year old Justin Rodrigues who drove the nine hours from Grahamstown, in the country's Eastern Cape province, to be at the game. "We played so well though and I am filled with confidence for next year - we are going to blow the world away!"

Throughout the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, South African fans have played a significant role in the tournament's success but tonight they were spectacular. The sights and sounds emanating from Ellis Park once again displayed the people's passion and love of the game. But that's not to say that the winning team was without support of its own.

A festive group of travelling Brazilian supporters left the stadium saying that they will certainly be back next year. "South Africa played well - we love Africa!"

But the Brazilians were quick to note their team's superiority on the pitch. "South Africa did play well but they were up against the finest champions!"

Lorraine Khashane (35) from Alberton, Johannesburg, reflects on what the FIFA Confederations Cup has meant for her country. "This tournament is putting South Africa on the world map and our guests from all over the world are enjoying themselves."

For twenty-five year old Batandwa Sukwana from Sandton, Johannesburg, this was his fourth game. "I am impressed with the organisation and standard of football. We've had the opportunity to see super stars. It's been a great experience."

Julani Majola (32) from Pretoria agrees. "I think we've done brilliantly as a country. As a patriot I am proud of what we have achieved."