SA win all four of major trophies in 2019? Nah

Sport

SA win all four of major trophies in 2019? Nah

This will be a big year for Mzansi’s big three sporting codes - but let's not dwell in a fantasy world

Journalist


And the 2019 African Cup of Nations champions will be … Who cares what the coalition of the always willing, ever ready, mostly able here at Times Select think. Here’s what’s come down from on high in the past few days, apparently.
“God revealed to me that Black Stars would win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June.”
That’s Reindolph Oduro Gyebi, the “General Overseer” of God’s Crown Chapel in Kumasi in Ghana, “Eagle Prophet” to his flock, laying on the fire and brimstone on Adom FM. Of course, there was more …
“I saw rainbow clouding over the Black Stars. I also saw captain Asamoah Gyan and his deputy, Andre Ayew, holding the AFCON trophy and presenting it.”
Gyebi isn’t new to the kopsmokkeling business, having, so he says, foretold disasters, disease and death.
Among his pending predictions are that Nana Akufo-Addo, who became Ghana’s president in January 2017, will serve one term only. In May 2018 he was adamant Ghana will be rich in two years’ time.
Don’t watch this space. Watch the God’s Crown Chapel Facebook page instead.
In Gyebi’s latest foray into the future he didn’t explain how Gyan and Ayew could help their team win the trophy and then present it to themselves.
Neither did the prophet (peas be upon him) hazard a divined guess at where the tournament will be played. Cameroon have been dumped as the original hosts and SA and Morocco are in the running as the replacement. We are scheduled to know who goes where on Monday. Bafana Bafana haven’t lost any of their five Afcon qualifiers but they’ve won only two. Much hangs on their last qualifier, against Libya on March 21. When the teams met at Moses Mabhida in September, it ended goalless. So it’s off to North Africa for the South Africans, who need just a point to make it to the finals.
Sounds doable, but they’re going to a country that put up with a merciless dictator for almost 41 years before assassinating him and dragging his corpse through the streets for all to see. They don’t take kak.
So Bafana might be quietly hopeful that the event does come to their backyard, if only to gaurantee their participation.
Happy New Year, sports lovers. So far, so weird. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that 2019 will be big for Mzansi’s big three.
And for football in particular, what with Banyana Banyana’s first trip to the World Cup also on the programme. Desiree Ellis’s squad are pooled with No 2-ranked Germany, Spain, who are 12th, and, in 15th place, China. SA? A distant 48th.
But they have a decent chance of reaching a knockout stage that will feature the four best third-placed sides from the six groups along with the group winners and runners-up.
Getting to the sudden death rounds hasn’t been a problem for SA on the cricket field. Not so staying alive when losing means going home.
So you might not want to know this considering what has happened too many times before, but it’s time for another edition of the World Cup. It’s in England, where SA suffered their most inglorious exit yet from the tournament at Edgbaston in 1999.
Allan Donald was too shellshocked to run, Lance Klusener was too shellshocked to turn around, the thoroughly shellshocked South Africans shambled for the losers’ exit wondering what the hell had happened, and unshockable Australia marched on from that tied semifinal towards another title.
Might things go differently this year? Probably: there’s not a lot of confidence in SA to get anywhere near the semifinals and that should help keep the pressure off. Also, no team in the world are better led than Faf du Plessis’s side. If he can’t get them over the line, no one can.
Rugby, too, will stage a World Cup this year, in Japan, whose 34-32 win over the Springboks in Brighton at the 2015 event is unarguably the most famous victory, and defeat, in the game’s history.
The Boks spent much of 2018 playing as if they were trying to convince themselves, and us, that their 1995 and 2007 incarnations did not win the Webb Ellis Cup when we know they did. There was little thunder among the forwards, even less lightning among the backs, and a paucity of ideas all round.
For two-time world champions to win only half their 14 matches in 2018 does not bode well for their chances of adding a third title mere months from now. Part of the problem is that Siya Kolisi is too nice. Cricket teams can be captained by committee but not rugby sides, which, like newspapers, have to be dictatorships if they are to win anything worth winning. Perhaps that’s why Gaddafi banned the game in Libya. He decided it was too violent, on the say-so of one of his sons. We kid you not. Maybe he was nervous of competition.
So rather than trying to spread the love liberally in his team by refusing to take credit for successes, Kolisi needs to harden the hell up and lead from the front and not the huddle. He should channel his inner Idi Amin – a 1.93m lock forward of decent ability before he turned to killing people for sport – and not wonder what Gandhi would do.
What might you think, then, of South Africans waking up in a wonderland at about 1pm on Saturday, November 2?
That they must’ve had a hell of a Friday night if they’re stirring only then. Fair enough. But 1pm (SA time) on Saturday, November 2 2019 is more or less when rugby’s World Cup final should end.
And there they are, the Boks, kings of the game for the third time. If Kolisi smiles any wider the top half of his head will fall off.
Cut to the stands, where the gathered Proteas, still pinching themselves about becoming World Cup champions, are dispensing their adulation. So, too, are Banyana Banyana, their tracksuits aglint forever with the star above the badge they earned for triumphing at the World Cup. Also on their feet and cheering are Bafana Bafana, their joy for not only qualifying for the AFCON finals but going there and winning the damn thing refusing to fade.
Queen’s We are the champions is booming around International Stadium Yokohama, just as it did above the celebrating South Africans after the Afcon final in June, at Stade de Lyon on July 7, and at Lord’s on July 19.
It is, of course, way too much to ask. No country in the history of international sport has, nor in all likelihood will, know this feeling.
No one would write this script because no one would buy it. Unless, perhaps, it included a thoroughly New South Africa tangent about which came first: the sheep or the beach.
SA win all four of the major trophies on offer to their teams in 2019? Nah. Never going to happen. If we seriously think so it’s time to reach for the lyrics of another Queen song:
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.
Hang on. Before we put this to bed someone had better give “Prophet Eagle” a call.

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