It is a fairly disheartening time to be a South African sport supporter. Especially for Bafana Bafana as they prepare to take on Mauritania in an all but meaningless game, and then following that they will take on Egypt for the Nelson Mandela Challenge. SAFA president Danny Jordaan recently urged the public to support Bafana in the name of the late Tata Madiba. This was largely seen as a low blow – even for a politician.
Not many supporters were fooled by Jordaan's last-minute plea to get bums on seats for the Nelson Mandela Challenge. Making matters worse, Jordaan's use of the Mandela surname to promote the event was largely taken as an insult to the intelligence of supporters, as well as disrespectful to Madiba himself.
There is much anger directed at Jordaan. I just hope that it does not get converted into anger at Bafana Bafana. Supporting the national team has, for the past couple years, been a very difficult thing. One large test of patience as we bounce between moments of hope and depression; where one day we will beat Spain 1-0 and the next we will lose 3-1 to Mauritania.
But part of the deal of being South African is that things don't come easily, and that includes support for the national team. It is our problems and challenges that make us South African, and tough times make the eventual victory at the end that much sweeter to taste.
So I urge you, support Bafana Bafana; not because Danny Jordaan said that it would please Madiba but because it is the right thing to do, even though it is a difficult thing to do. We cannot sugarcoat it and pretend our nation is a footballing powerhouse anymore, but it is still our nation nonetheless. If your 10-year-old son is a poor footballer, will you shout insults at him from the sideline? Will you stop watching his games? Nope, you are stuck with him, and one day he will reward you for your patience.
So do it, sing the national anthem and support the boys. Go to Orlando Stadium on Tuesday; don't do it for Jordaan, do it despite him.
For my 10th birthday, my father took me to watch Bafana Bafana take on Zimbabwe in a friendly, and the Warriors won 1-0. I left the stadium heartbroken and in tears. Many years later, I was fortunate to be in Bloemfontein and watch Bafana Bafana beat France 2-1 in the FIFA World Cup. Be patient and be loyal, one day you will be rewarded.