Can SA do it as hosts again
In 1996, South Africa stormed into African and world soccer record books by winning their hosted Afcon in style. Mandela’s smile as the trophy was lifted still sets my emotions racing when I think back.
Seventeen years later and, once again, South Africa are hosts and I have been asked by South Africans everywhere if I think they can do it again? If yes, what must they do or not do?
Of course, some South Africans are skeptical and you can’t blame them but they have several reasons to be hopeful. Understandably, the big boys like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Zambia would agree that South Africa should be worried but in so many ways South Africa could be deadly once again.
IMPORTANT FOR SOUTH AFRICA:
This tournament is hosted in South Africa and, like it or not, the home advantage could be a very significant factor. For the team to have a good chance of success the fans have to repeat the wild support they gave them when they clashed with France at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The players themselves have to believe in their own abilities to win. If they are not convinced that they have a chance, then they should forget it. If you do not trust in yourself who will? Your rivals?
From a tactical point of view, a more direct play towards goal and playing with the sole objective of scoring, even if it doesn’t have to be beautiful, could be quite useful. Remember, defending is rarely beautiful!
They have to take the advice of President Zuma, to shun the critics and play to win. In other words it is not important what people think. What matters is what the players (actors) do.
From day one, the game v Cape Verde is probably the most important one for South Africa. They should in no way be taken lightly. This is because they are a good side (Cameroon are witnesses to how good they are, having been eliminated by Cape Verde) and a good and resounding start to Afcon is paramount to winning it. Falter and your next opponents come at you with no fear.
Most of these points apply to most teams really and at the end, may the best team win. It’s time to play and feast in South Africa.