Does The Football Have To Be Over The White Line South African Football

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South African Football

Since the start of the 2010 World Cup, the South African football team is affectionately known as “Bufana Bufana” which translates to “the boys”. Hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup has brought South African football back into the limelight, however like the rest of South Africa’s history, things have not been straightforward. Football in South Africa was banned by FIFA (international football) due to the apartheid system in the country, only to return to the world stage in 1992 after a change in government policy regarding race.

South Africa experienced football in the nineteenth century through British soldiers. From the early days of football in South Africa until the end of apartheid, the South African national league had separate officials and leagues for different colors and creeds under the “All-White Football Association of South Africa”. South Africa formed the African Football Confederation along with Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. However, when it became clear that South Africa’s constitution was against FIFA’s policy of racially segregated teams, they were disqualified from the tournament for failing to comply with the one-year deadline set by FIFA policy. England’s Sir Stanley Rouse (FA president and later FIFA president) re-invited world football for South Africa because he believed that the ban was hurting football itself and could destroy the game in the country. , possibly to the point of no return as young children were growing up without exposure to the game. This brief reintroduction ended in 1976 when he was deported again to South Africa as a result of the Soweto uprising. The decision was taken at the FIFA Annual Conference held in Tokyo.

In 1991 the apartheid system in South Africa was coming to an end and with it a new multi-racial football team was created which was recognized by FIFA. Their first competitive match was played on 7 July 1992 against Cameroon, their first international match in over two decades. South Africa won the match 1-0 but of course the victory was much bigger than the result of the game.

South Africa qualified for the World Cup finals in 1998 and 2002 and automatically qualified for 2010 as the host nation. Unfortunately for South Africa, they failed to qualify from the first group stage of any of these three titles. Despite this, they continue to make a lasting impression on the football world with their vibrant hosting of the tournament (they are the first African nation to host the prestigious tournament) and the passion of their millions of fans. South Africa’s biggest success at international level came in 1996 when they won the African Cup of Nations, a tournament they hosted again. South African football hosted the 2010 World Cup on stage at the 2009 Confederation Games. This time they qualified from their group with a win against New Zealand, a draw against Iraq and a defeat against European champions Spain. South Africa’s hopes ended with a semi-final loss to world-renowned Brazil.

It is hoped that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will provide a platform for South African football to recover from its wilderness and prosper for the benefit of its football-mad fans.

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