By Paul Bassey
The die is cast. We do not care whether we prepared well or not. All we are asking for is that the Argentines should be brought on.
Yesterday, South Africa made Africa proud, on and off the field. I am happy that the whoâ€™s who in Nigeria were around to see what organization means. How Sepp Blatter spoke for only two minutes, how President Zuma declared the competition open in three minutes, how ONLY six people went on to the field to meet the players ( Desmond Tutu did not run down to be part of the crowd, the sports minister did not, not even Danny Jordan)
The opening ceremony was a study in Africanityâ€¦if there is a word like it. A blend of civilization and culture, with a clear emphasis on the six African qualifiers. Of course Nigeria occupied a pride of place, as Femi Kuti ran onto the stage to sing Bangâ€¦Bangâ€¦.Bang. God. Did it have to be that song?
Anyway, a friend said to me that BANG in sports parlance means to HIT and to SCORE. I agree with him.
That is exactly what South Africa did when Tsiphiwe Tshabalala went into the history books as the scorer of the first goal of the South Africa 2010 World Cup when he BANGED in the opener in the 55th, rifling home a left footed blinder.
Pity that the Mexicans had to equalize, denying the South Africans a perfect start. By the way, how many of us really believed South Africa was going to beat Mexico? 83rd placed country in the world, face to face against the 17th ranked, world cup veteran?
No matter how we look at it, yesterdayâ€™s draw was more than a victory for a country that before now was not sure of getting any point from the group stage. That should we meet South Africa today, we will not be able to beat them, not easily again? I leave that question for another day, quite aware that our lines could cross in the second round. Today we come face to face with Argentina, buoyed by the near superlative performance of the Bafana Bafana.
That was a team that was devoid of stars, one that even had to substitute Steven Piennaar on the way to a credible result. Yes Argentina is a different kettle of fish managed by a coach who is so confused that he may line out Milito in the defensive position. Nigerians will be rooting for the Super Eagles, we will be howling on top of our voices. Go Eagles Go.
Also today, South Korea will take on Greece, a match that will have a lot of bearing on our result, even as England also line out against the USA. Who wins,? Greece and South Korea should play draw, England should beat the USA for Beckham and Ferdinand sake. ( The Man U blood flowing in me )
That is the prediction of my heart. Reality lies in ninety minutes of play. Wow,Â there is excitement in the air. The world cup is here and ours, starts today.
Congratulations South Africa, viva Africa. Again, IN GODâ€™S NAME, Go Eagles GO.