Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Baffling Bafana captain Mokoena: We can't let the World Cup leave South Africa!

SOUTH AFRICA'S World Cup captain Aaron Mokoena reckons his baffling Bafana Bafana CAN achieve global domination.
The Portsmouth defender, who plays in the FA Cup final against Premier League champions Chelsea on Saturday, may have let the pre-Wembley hype get to him when he said simply: “We have to make sure the World Cup does not leave South Africa now.”

The World Cup arrived for a nationwide tour last week but most think Mokoena’s team will be the first host nation to be eliminated before the knock-out stages, given a record-low ranking of 90 in this month’s FIFA assessment. But the former Ajax Amsterdam and Blackburn centre-back, brilliant in Pompey’s shock semi-final win over Spurs last month, said: “We always respect people’s opinions. Yes, there are statistics out there. We know we’re facing a big challenge as a team.

“We’re so fortunate to have Carlos Parreira, such an experienced manager, making sure we prepare properly. He knows actually how much it takes for a team to do well in such a big event. We have to let people talk. But we know we have to be prepared mentally, physically.

“We have to make sure we gel as a team as soon as possible before the first game against Mexico. Then we’ve got Uruguay and France!”

With fellow African nations Algeria, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Cameroon also in difficult groups, Mokoena insisted: “It’s very, very important for Africa. First of all, we know how much it means for South Africa and the African continent. This is our first World Cup ever in the history of football. It’s an opportunity to showcase how beautiful the African continent is, and also how much talent we have here.

“As Africans, we’ve shown we can come to Europe and do well as individuals. So many big clubs rely on African players. We are representing the African continent. We want to make people aware.

“South Africa hosted a Rugby World Cup, a Confederations Cup last year, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the rugby Lions every four years. This is our turn to host another big event successfully.”

So can an African nation do better than Cameroon, who reached the last eight in 1990? Mokoena, known locally as Mbaso (The Axe), chipped around the question for a while: “This event is big, big for Africa. We know it’s going to be hard. We’re playing against sides who have done well in the World Cup before. Brazil have done well so many times.

“But as a South African leader here, we’re the hosts, we have to do well. It’s a big challenge, but I’m absolutely looking forward to it.

“Doing well means that the World Cup has to remain in Africa. We have the best chance of all the African teams. I’m optimistic.

“Looking back in the Confederations Cup, a lot of people expected the likes of Spain to do well. They couldn’t. I see this World Cup as bringing a lot of surprises.”

Follow the World Cup with and search for his fascinating YouTube videos from South Africa!


  1. Mokoena says it is important that the team gel. Intersting when you consider he will only join the squad next month. I wonder how the players, who were on the Brazil traing camp, feel about being excluded now that the overseas based players are arriving ? Must be good for team spirit.

  2. Yeah, funny that. Mokoena will be the last to join up with the squad because of the FA Cup final... and he talks about how much the squad has to gel! But the late arrival of European-based players isn't limited to South Africa, they all have to put up with it. Perhaps Carlos Parreira should have done what Diego Maradona did and picked lots of domestic players instead of his Inter Milan stars!