S African enthusiasm hit by early exit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

S African enthusiasm hit by early exit

24/06/2010 07:35:55 AM Comments (0)

With Bafana Bafana out of the World Cup, South African football fans have begun to ask themselves who they should cheer for - or even if they care at all anymore.

South Africa became the first host team to be eliminated in the first round of the world's biggest football tournament despite beating France on Tuesday in Bloemfontein, leaving fans without a team to support for the last few weeks of the competition.

"I am so very disappointed in Bafana, they have put South Africa in a bad situation," said Clifton Zwane, a 45-year-old fan from Soweto.

"But my teams are Brazil and Spain from here on."

Football in South Africa is traditionally a sport for blacks, while whites tend to follow rugby more closely. But the World Cup has helped to bridge the racial divide as many in the country have come together to support the national team at this year's tournament - the first to be staged in Africa.

"I am interested in the soccer because it is taking place in our country, but now that Bafana is out of the World Cup, rugby will return to be my first priority from here on," said Joe Fourie, a 41-year-old section manager from Springs, a town 25 kilometres east of Johannesburg.

Riaan Lourens, a 29-year-old fan who works at a Computer Software company in Pretoria, is maintaining his interest.

"I will absolutely keep watching the World Cup and attend matches," Lourens said. "And I definitely think that either Brazil or Argentina will win the tournament."

Genna Hewitson, a 17-year-old student from Johannesburg, has decided to turn her attention to the only African team that has so far advanced to the round of 16.

"I am disappointed that Bafana did not go through, but I still have some hope for Ghana," Hewitson said.

Despite South Africa's earlier-than-hoped exit, the local organising committee of the World Cup is urging South Africans to stay involved in the tournament.

"South Africa is certainly not down at the moment. It was great to see the home team really going out of the tournament on a high," local organising committee spokesman Jermaine Craig said. "The victory has certainly shown that the country is still very much behind this tournament."

Some don't need any encouragement, but others do.

"I am definitely still watching," said Elanie Rupping, a 20-year-old student from Johannesburg. "I've loved Germany since 2008 so from here on they are my team."

But Thuli Mchunu, a city council employee in Johannesburg, is ready to get over the excitement and get back to normal.

"I have never been a very big soccer fan, but I am disappointed in Bafana and I am not going to be bothered about the World Cup," Mchunu said.

JP Kalitz, a 23-year-old financial adviser from Pretoria, is still interested in the football, but he doesn't seem to care too much about South Africa's elimination.

"Portugal has been my team all along," Kalitz said.

Sheldon Grahn, a 22-year-old media student from Cape Town, is cheering for Brazil, but was also impressed with his own national team, which held Mexico to a draw and lost to Uruguay before playing 1998 champion France.

"I am not disappointed in Bafana as beating France is a step forward," Grahn said.

Gerhad Fourie is thinking along those same lines.

"If Bafana did their best then that is enough for me," said Fourie, a 28-year-old business analyst from Pretoria. "From here on my team is Brazil."

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