Sipho Hlongwane
Sipho Hlongwane

Ras Bafana Bafana — they’ve lost my support

Here’s a fun question: who do you hate more, Brandon Huntley or Ras Dumisani? The white man who jaded an entire country by being a monumental ass, or da black mon who jaded an entire country by being a monumental, er Rasta? Letting alone the question of why we’re so jade-able as a country in the first place, Huntley must win, hands down. If you disregard the fact that Ras Dumisani’s laughable performance is still smarting freshly in everyone’s mind, you have to admit that Huntley is a bigger cause for a rough welcome home, should he ever choose to grace our shores with his persecuted backside again. Ras Dumisani attempted to redeem himself by “singing” the anthem again (I heard him on CapeTalk’s website) on Monday morning, and then apologised when it became clear to everyone that Saturday’s rendition couldn’t be blamed so much on faulty equipment and weed as on Ras Dumisani’s inherent lack of talent. Huntley has not been forthcoming with a second explanation, nor with an apology. So I’m afraid of the two, Ras will have to be the forgiven one, lack of talent and all.

This brings me rather wearily to another troupe of talentless lackeys who need to apologise to us as a nation for jading us so badly. I’m talking of course of Ras Bafana Bafana. As I write this, they are busy playing – oh, the tantalising irony – the Reggae Boys of Jamaica. And true to form, Bafana Bafana’s playing is lacklustre, uninspired and utterly without soul. They’ve played like this for as long as I can remember. In fact, the only time in the last year or so that I’ve felt even a jot of inspiration was during Bafana’s second loss to Spain in the Confederations Cup. By any standards, that is shocking. Ras Aaron Mokoena and his team should apologise to us all for believing that it was ok for them to dash our hopes time and again in this manner.

And Ras Benni McCarthy? Don’t get me started on that guy. Actually, do. What a lag, what a complete tjop. I could have put up with his cavalier, pampered-playboy attitude to the national side had he still had the ability to score goals. But no, not only can’t he score any more, he seemingly is unable to trot from one end of the field to the other without almost dying of effort in the process. He was part of the reason I was still willing to believe that something could still be salvaged from the ruins that are Bafana Bafana. As long as he wasn’t playing for the national team, there was always that hope that when Benni came back, all would be well. The goals would come flying in, we’d win the World Cup and there’d be that heart-warming shot of the president being borne aloft by a triumphant team while everyone wept openly in the background. But that’s not going to happen, because Ras Benni has been unable to keep himself out of the pie shop and now weighs more than Ekurhuleni. He doesn’t start for Blackburn Rovers, the club that pays his wages and he expects to be our football messiah? A pox on him!

Let’s not forget the captain Edward Smith to our sinking Titanic, Ras Carlos Alberto Parreira. We can’t really knock him for leaving us in the lurch earlier on. His wife was feeling poorly, and that in the great scheme of things is of greater urgency than the state of a national football team. Fair enough. But what he should be tanned, tarred and feathered for is inflicting that risible Ras Joel Santana on us. It was on the strength of his recommendation that Safa approached Santana in the first place, wasn’t it? When Santana was finally sacked — and don’t think for one moment that he wasn’t — Parreira had the temerity to defend his poor suggestion, a man who was a clear failure. Unforgivable.

All of this would be ok — I mean, there’s always the rugby — were it not for one thing. The 2010 Fifa World Cup. Hosting a successful major tournament would be as pointless as smearing lipstick on a dog if our team is a joke. All that expectation, all that money, all that oh-will-we-be-good-enough-for-them-European-tourists anxiety will be for nought (nought, d’ye hear?) if Bafana Bafana don’t put up a respectable fight in the tournament.

Ras Dumisani was just the beginning, a taste of what’s to come if something drastic doesn’t happen with Bafana Bafana and Parreira. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, though. The anger and embarrassment that we felt this weekend will be repeated tenfold next year. Yesterday’s friendly match against Jamaica was Bafana Bafana’s last chance of retaining my unconditional support. They blew that chance. I can’t bear disappointment any more, so I’ll be rooting for the chisel-jawed Spaniards come next June.