Rainier Plahar

South Africa are in the Confederations Cup by their rights as the host nation. This is a nation that showed huge potential as an African powerhouse in the mid-90s. But after winning the only Nations Cup in their history on home-soil in 1996, the Bafana Bafana have sadly been in steady decline. It is the hope of all their fans that the Confederations Cup and subsequently the World Cup can reinstate South Africa as a genuinely strong force in African football.


Joel Santana

Santana was hired to replace fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira in April 2008. The 61 year-old has enjoyed a glorious career as coach to various teams in the Brazilian league, winning the Campeonato Carioca on no less than four occasions. He is also one of the few to have won the Brazilian league with each one of Brazil’s traditional top four clubs. Indeed the South African job is his first at International level and it remains to be seen if he can replicate his success with Brazilian clubs in South Africa.

Players to Watch

Steven Pienaar – Midfielder – Everton (England)

The 28 year-old Everton midfielder is easily South Africa’s most recognisable talent at the moment. Small and rather hard to dispossess, much of the nation’s hope will be on him to inspire South Africa to a decent run in the tournament. After eight years of top flight European football that has seen him enjoy spells with Ajax as well as Borussia Dortmund, Pienaar has got the experience to match obvious talent to make an impact on home-soil.

Aaron Mokoena – Defensive Midfielder – Portsmouth (England)

Captain of the side, Aaron "the axe" Mokoena is the man to whom South Africans will look to to fire the Bafana Bafana forwards in the Confederations Cup. A decent holding midfielder who is comfortable in defence too Mokoena has been one of South Africa’s more consistent players over the years. It’s obvious most of the team look up to him and it’s imperative the Portsmouth man holds his nerve and exerts a calming influence if the Bafana Bafana are to do well.
Teko Modise – Attacking Midfielder – Orlando Pirates (South Africa) 

Currently South Africa’s best local player, Modise is set to be the next big South African name in Europe. The midfielder has a good passing range and can split a defence with one poke of the ball. His first touch is a masterly one but Modise needs a bit of ironing however, his shooting is sometimes abysmal and his work ethic needs to be improved. Currently with Orlando Pirates, the Confederations Cup presents a chance for Modise to showcase his talent to the world. An opportunity he will definitely be keen to grab with  both hands.


On paper South Africa seem to have no chance in this tournament but as previous FIFA events have shown it is never advisable to underrate a host nation. Santana is surely looking to use this tournament to build momentum and confidence for next year’s World Cup. A semi-final berth will be seen as a decent result for South Africa and the draw has been kind them.

The Bafana Bafana should be able to advance from their group with a bit of endeavour and discipline, from there anything could happen. With their home fans likely to be in full voice and colour and the hosts battling for pride, they should not be underestimated.

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