There are whispered rumours swirling around
the South African capital regarding tomorrow night's match between the hosts
and Uruguay at Loftus-Versfeld Stadium. Concerns exist that the hordes
of Bafana Bafana supporters who turned out in the Soccer City sunshine
for Friday afternoon's World Cup curtain-raiser will refuse to brave
the forecasted below-zero degree temperatures to cheer on their side
once more in the second match of the African nation's campaign.
Early indicators suggest the speculation is just that: speculation.
Fifa have reported the match is sold out and local newspapers are
claiming the nearby OR Tambo Airport is, this afternoon, expecting an
influx of internal flights that will "bring thousands of fans together
from across the country".
However, world football's governing body is already investigating why a
large, visible section of 800 seats at Friday's opening match in
Soweto remained empty, while stewards' strikes in Cape Town and Durban
and train drivers' protests in Johannesburg are causing logistical
The attendance at the 42,000-capacity stadium in Tshwane tomorrow night will
go a long way in confirming exactly how loyal this country is to their
national side. The euphoria and ecstasy that followed
the South African midfielder
Tshabalala's opening strike against
Mexico last week was tempered only by Rafael Marquez's late equaliser.
The vuvuzelas fell silent for a second as the Bafana fans exhaled in
angst, but moments later the chants and cheering returned - make no
mistake, the belief that Carlos Alberto Parreira's side can safely
negotiate the group stages is less pipe dream and more genuine faith.
Unbeaten in 13 matches, the team has experienced a frantic turnaround
from laughing stocks to national heroes and Parreira is determined to
prolong the patriotic party. The Brazilian believes four points would
successfully secure their progress to Round Two, meaning victory over
their South American opponents should turn the capital into a
carnival. His goal-scoring midfielder agrees.
"A win against Uruguay will virtually seal our passage into the second
round and make the nation even prouder," Tshabalala said. "They have
been behind us all the way and we need to repay them by getting through
to the second round."