South Africa's national football team, Bafana Bafana, face another perennial do-or-die clash against Burkina Faso for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on Saturday.
If they are defeated, they will officially lose out on a World Cup spot.
Meanwhile, TimesLive reports that Bafana Bafana is facing a ticket crisis after only selling 300 tickets for its qualifying game this weekend.
One of the most fan-stressing situations in football is arguably supporting Bafana Bafana, and to add fuel to the fire, here are five reasons why Bafana will always break your heart.
1. South Africa Can't Qualify For Tournaments, Unless We Host
While SA might have had the honour of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the national team has not qualified for an international tournament in 15 years, dating back to the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea.
In 2012, Bafana embarrassingly did not qualify for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) after the team misread the rules. They celebrated on national television, thinking they had qualified, only to find that they had missed out.
With a ticket to Russia looking highly unlikely, SA will have to wait till 2022 for another World Cup, which would stretch its unwanted streak to 20 years since qualifying for the tournament. So unless history repeats itself, our biggest chance of qualifying is to host another World Cup -- and that seems to be a lifetime away.
2. National Pride Is Gone
Since the turn of the century, Bafana has failed to again reach the heights that saw the team lifting the 1996 AFCON trophy. South Africa's golden period was from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
Bafana won the 1996 AFCON tournament. They came second in the 1998 edition and qualified for two World Cups. So what went wrong? The mindset and attitude of the players seems to have shifted. It appears as though players do not wear their hearts on their sleeves anymore.
The coaches, who are partially to blame, are continually replaced and the team lacks identity and chemistry.
3. Social Media Memes
The glory days of competitive football are gone. Instead, Bafana are the social media meme kongs, as the side is always trolled for winning the useless games (friendlies) and losing the important ones (qualifiers).
Here are some examples:
Just over 300 tickets sold for the match between SA and Burkina Faso. #BafanaBafana should pay me to go watch them play.— mkhululi mlati (@new_afrika) October 5, 2017
#BafanaBafana It should rain from kickoff till 90+,they need a cleansing this bafana team— Emmanuel🇿🇦 (@Emmanuel_Tsebe) October 4, 2017
#BafanaBafana should find themselves another country to embarrass. We can't take this anymore!— #Oneofakind (@NtokozoMagasela) September 21, 2017
4. Banyana Banyana Does It Better
Perhaps a paradigm shift is needed for a while to reduce stress levels, as the women's national team is doing what the men cannot do: win trophies.
Banyana Banyana recently won their fourth Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup tournament when they defeated hosts Zimbabwe 2-1. Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis made history by becoming the first South African – male or female – to win the Cosafa Cup Championship both as a player and a coach.
5. The Nation Is Not Backing The Team
Perhaps the lack of confidence and performance from the national team comes from a lack of support from fans. Patriotism has dropped to the point where South Africans have lost hope in the team and, as a result, Bafana have lost their core foundation, the fans.
As a result, no matter how many times your team loses, you still don the jersey and support your team to the end. And that means, even though we criticise them, it is still our duty as South Africans to go out there and back them. After all, they are our boys.