Wednesday Jul 01, 2020. 12:00
Former South African international midfielder MacBeth Sibaya has claimed that the host team were distracted by the hype of the 2010 World Cup and would have performed better had the tournament been held elsewhere.
It has been 10 years since the first World Cup on African soil, and while SA did a fantastic job in hosting the tournament, one of the sour notes was the group stage exit of Bafana Bafana – they became the first, and thus far only, host team to fall at the first hurdle of their own World Cup tournament.
Sibaya, who played at both the 2002 and 2010 tournament, believes the hype and euphoria affected Bafana, who were coached by Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira at the time.
“It’s difficult to sum everything up. One was caught between being a citizen of a hosting nation and a player,” Sibaya is quoted by IOL.
“There were also ambitions that needed to be reached by the team, and there were a whole lot of activities that were surrounding the World Cup, so it was quite difficult to deal with everything and being everything at once.”
The hard-man midfielder added, “It could have been easy if the tournament was played on another continent. Maybe if as a country we were used to qualifying for major tournaments, that would have also made our job a little bit easier.
“There was a very big gap between Germany and Korea/Japan. There was an eight-year gap between Korea/Japan and 2010. A huge gap. We didn’t participate in big competitions, and as a country we struggled in the (Africa) Nations Cup and so forth.”