Cape Town – South Africa are considering getting rid of the Bafana Bafana nickname their national team have been tagged with for decades and introducing a new strip as they seek to turn a new chapter.
The popular nickname, a Zulu expression that closely translates as 'the boys', has been a popular moniker for the side from soon after South Africa's return to the international arena in 1992 after decades of Apartheid enforced isolation.
But South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan, speaking after the country were knocked out of the African Nations Championship tournament on home soil, said a new name for the team would be sought.
“We must consider changing the name and we have to review the preparations, the philosophy and technical staff of the team,” he told a press conference on Monday heralding a possible sacking of coach Gordon Igesund after a loss to Nigeria.
The Bafana Bafana nickname earned worldwide renown but the Safa have been keen to change it for a while because they lost out on millions in marketing spoils from the name.
The association did not initially register the nickname and when they finally sought to profit from the trademark found a local entrepreneur had beaten them to it. A court battle ensued, which Safa lost, although a later agreement saw a share of the commercial spoils.
South Africa lost 3-1 to Nigeria in Cape Town on Sunday to crash out of the tournament, which is for quasi-national sides open only to home-based players.
South Africa, which has a strong domestic competition, were expected to do well in the three-week tournament but won only one of their group games.
“We have to agree we were dismissive and even insulting to the quality of football on the continent,” Jordaan said of the team's performance.
Last year South Africa were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup, which they also hosted. They also failed to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Team nicknames are popular throughout Africa. Among the better known are reigning African champions Nigeria – the Super Eagles; Egypt's Pharoahs and the Elephants from Ivory Coast. – Reuters