by Jean-Paul Brigger
My thoughts today are with the host nation. South Africa are out of the tournament, but you know what? They can be thoroughly proud of what they’ve achieved. Bafana Bafana signed off with a terrific display. They’ve beaten the 2006 runners-up, let’s never forget that. That really does go down as a remarkable performance!
Obviously, there are mixed feelings here in South Africa when assessing Bafana Bafana’s record. But no-one can deny that what they’ve achieved rates as a success. They’ve earned four points in a tough group, which is magnificent. I’m sure the fans will very quickly realise that South African football is very much heading in the right direction.
Basically, the nation now has a wonderful foundation on which to build. The infrastructure is world-class – just look at the stadiums and the training facilities. That's why it was tremendously important for South Africa to bow out of the tournament with this phenomenal victory over the French. That's what people will remember in years to come, and it’ll mean the nation can approach the future with confidence. So I say this: It's crucial the people here keep their heads held high and look to the future. The World Cup hosts have every reason for optimism.
Bafana Bafana have had a good World Cup, in my opinion. The second half of their opening match against Mexico was terrific. OK, they had an off-day against Uruguay, but they’ve bounced back against the French and done a lot more than just save face. And even though they were playing the 2006 runners-up, South Africa almost pulled off a miracle with the chances they created at the start of the second half.
There’s no question the fans out in the streets and squares will continue the party, with their amazing joie de vivre and enthusiasm. It's guaranteed, because this passion is part of their chemical make-up. I’ve been to South Africa a lot, and I’ve grown to know and love the people here. I’ll say it again: they can be so, so proud. This colourful World Cup goes on – for South Africa, and for everyone else!