Ask any (non-whining) South African about the World Cup next year and they’ll tell you two things:
Firstly, it’s going to be brilliant, exciting, amazing; and secondly, Bafana Bafana don’t stand a chance. We’re talking cat in hell, snowball in hell, fishcake in… hell (?) stuff here. No chance. At all. Not even a little bit. Nil. Zero. Zilch.
You get my point. And that’s still one more than Bafana are going to manage*.
But we’re all singing the praises of the South Africa Homeless World Cup team this week, who are fresh back from Milan, trophy in hand! Fantastic stuff. That is, until you read the small print and discover that they won the trophy for finishing 16th.
It’s all enough to make you wonder if they didn’t just steal the trophy. In the traditional South African way. I’m not suggesting that they did nick it or anything, but getting a trophy for finishing 16th? It does sound a bit fishy.
You must forgive me, because I recognise that even being there representing their country was a special experience and an honour for those guys. And I can only salute the great positive work that NGO’s and charities do in organising these sorts of events. But, being a traditionalist at heart, I have to say first, second, third… fair enough. But a trophy for finishing 16th? Well, that devalues thing a little for me.
16th deserves more of a certificate and a pat on the back. A well done and thanks for turning up but there were another 15 teams who were better than you kind of thing. Not a trophy.
So South Africa didn’t win. They didn’t even come close. But there are those who can overlooked this minor detail if it brings in some nice publicity. ID leader Patricia de Lille for one:
I am so proud of our National Homeless Soccer Team, who persevered right until the end of the World Cup, beating Malawi in the final.
Poor deluded Patricia de Lille is still under the impression that her political party won the recent election and can’t understand why Jacob Zuma is claiming to be President.
Fortunately, for the purposes of accuracy in this article, reporter Harriet McLea helped de Lille out by adding the word “(match)” into the published quote at an appropriate point.
All a bit of a joke as far as the competition goes, then. But this surely offers some hope for Bafana Bafana in the real World Cup next year. After all, if you get a trophy just for finishing 16th, maybe they won’t be empty-handed at the end of the 2010 tournament.
* That’s enough now. Ed.