‘There can be miracles when you believe.’
Bafana Bafana’s progress to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-finals is confirmation of the truth of the popular song by the late Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
No one, except perhaps only themselves, believed South Africa’s senior national team would still be standing with just two rounds of matches left to go in the Ivory Coast. And with good reason, too, for such had been Bafana’s poor showing in recent years at the showpiece event that many expected them to merely add to the numbers.
But coach Hugo Broos and his team believed.
They believed they had it in them to compete on an equal footing with the continent’s best.
They believed they had it in them to reach the knockout stage.
They believed they had it in them to beat the continent’s top-ranked nation, Morocco, and they did. They believed they could reach the semi-final for the first time in 24 years. And on the day that marked the 28th anniversary of South Africa’s glorious Afcon success, when Mark Williams’ brace at a packed FNB Stadium saw us become continental champions, Ronwen Williams and his teammates pulled off a victory that has turned all of us into believers.
Suddenly, we all can believe in Bafana. How could we not when the boys have confounded all logic, current form and punters’ predictions with stellar performances that have seen them go four matches without conceding a goal?
We now believe that it can be 1996 all over again. We now believe that we can be champions of Africa for the second time.
Forget that next up for Bafana are the mighty Super Eagles of Nigeria, whom most believe are champions in waiting given their fantastic squad and impressive passage to this stage. We believe we have the beating of the team we love to hate. And don’t be reminding us that the last time we reached the semi-final it was the selfsame Nigeria that stopped us in our tracks.
We believe that, in living with the theme of this tournament that has seen the underdogs thriving, Bafana Bafana will avenge that defeat from 24 years ago and beat the Super Eagles on Wednesday.
After all, as those two great divas sang so beautifully – there can be miracles when you believe.