Did you know?
As host nation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, South Africa's Bafana Bafana automatically qualified for the tournament.
Bafana Bafana are South Africa's national football team, and they are the pride and joy of South African soccer fans all over the country. The name of the team loosely translates as 'The Boys', and the road the team has travelled since 1992 has certainly been an interesting one.
The team did not qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil, but put on a brave display at the 2010 tournament on home soil, drawing with Mexico and beating France. A 3-0 loss to Uruguay prevented the tournament hosts from progressing to the knock-out stages. The team's performance during the tournament united people around South Africa, and Siphiwe Tshabalala's goal against Mexico was the first and one of the finest of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
South Africa's national football team entered the global arena after many years of apartheid-enforced isolation. Bafana Bafana's very first match was against Cameroon in Durban on 7 July 1992, when hero Doctor Khumalo scored and gave South Africa a 1-0 win over the opposition. However, the effects of South Africa's isolation showed soon enough and the team failed to qualify for the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.
Two years later Bafana Bafana rose to the occasion and went on to win the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, beating Tunisia in a nail-biting final.
In 1997, Bafana Bafana qualified for the World Cup for the very first time, and in 1998 the team gave a good showing at the Africa Cup of Nations – winning a place in the final against Egypt. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, Bafana Bafana's performances against Japan and South Korea had the critics sitting up and taking notice.
Bafana Bafana haven't really lived up to their potential since then in terms of results, but the nation continues to get behind the team regardless.