South Africa fans out but not down after France win

JOHANNESBURG Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:38am IST

Children play a game of soccer just ahead of the FIFA 2010 World Cup soccer match between South Africa and France at Soweto in Johannesburg, June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Children play a game of soccer just ahead of the FIFA 2010 World Cup soccer match between South Africa and France at Soweto in Johannesburg, June 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's victory over France restored pride in Bafana Bafana, proud fans said on Tuesday after the hosts finally won a Group A game at the tournament they hosted.

South Africa became the first host nation to go out of the World Cup in the first round since the tournament began in 1930, but devoted supporters in Johannesburg's Nelson Mandela square said at least they went out in style.

"It's something that brings back people's morale. It restores patriotism," said Katiya Mongezi, 32, a trainee pilot, as he took a break from blasting his yellow vuvuzela trumpet.

"We might have lost the game but we're still winning because we're hosting the World Cup," he said, standing below the towering bronze statue of former President Mandela.

The statue of Mandela, which is circled by upmarket bars and restaurants, has become a focal point for South African soccer fans and visitors during the tournament.

Supporters wearing the dazzling yellow and green team jersey sounded their vuvuzelas trumpets hours after Tuesday's game.

NATIONAL PRIDE

The 2-1 victory over the troubled French was not enough to take the home side through after a previous 3-0 defeat in Group A to Uruguay and an opening day 1-1 draw with Mexico, but South Africa gave fans plenty to cheer on Tuesday.

"We have a feeling of great national pride. France is not an easy team to beat," said student Taki Nelcheni, 23, who was celebrating the win with her sister.

"From now on we're going to cheer for the other African teams. We're still going to enjoy good football," she said, her cheeks painted with the country's flag.

Newspapers were critical of the team after their defeat by Uruguay but The Boys' courageous showing against a major soccer nation which won the title in 1998 and were runners-up in 2006 could bolster enthusiasm for the rest of the competition.

"They were focused today. They played like they were promised a million rand," said Nqabisa Yili, 34, a project coordinator for a data company, who left her office early to watch the afternoon game.

"The whole nation is behind them," she said.

(Editing by Jon Bramley)

(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Time at United

Time at United

Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity.  Full Article 

Praise For Real

Praise For Real

Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale.  Full Article 

Coach Sacked

Coach Sacked

Struggling Nuremberg sack coach Verbeek.  Full Article 

Ferrer Out

Ferrer Out

Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage