Huskies need a win vs. Vipers

first_img [asset|aid=741|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=240490da5a38e48e37b5b7917ce8d765-Kalb-defence_1_Pub.mp3] Kalb says there are positives, such as the addition of Jesse Disher: [asset|aid=742|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=f0c58f0daa49460d8c102dfdf4825157-Kalb-disher_1_Pub.mp3] Kalb is also happy with Cam MacKinnon, who’s point totals have fallen off since scoring four goals in his debut, but has been one of the best defensive forwards on the team.Advertisement The Huskies play their final game of December on Saturday – and in some ways, it’s a must win.The Huskies have won four of their past six – but dropped the two games against teams they need to beat – Peace River and Dawson Creek.They now find themselves tied for second place in the league, but with two more games played than Peace River, and three more than Dawson Creek, Fort St. John realisticaly sits in third or fourth place overall.- Advertisement -With the season entering the Christmas break – but two thirds complete – the playoff picture is beginning to materialize, and teams in contention are now in a dogfight to place in the top two or three spots. Finishing second would guarantee a team home ice in the playoffs until the finals, while either 2nd or 3rd place is good enough to avoid the powerful Wolverines until the finals. The Huskies have been much better at home this season (10-1) than on the road (5-7-1), and play one of the weaker teams in the league, the Sexsmith Vipers. Still, the pups have struggled with Sexsmith this year, losing once in Sexsmith, and winning the other two matchups each by just one goal.Coach Bob Kalb admits his team has been inconsistent, wondering at times which Huskies team will show up on any given night. Team defence has been the problem, with 4 of the top ten scorers in the league on the team, but mediocre goaltending and sloppy play in their own zone costing the team on more than one occasion. While Jordan Shipton comes to play every night, other players aren’t always committed to team defence, and Kalb isn’t entirely sure how to solve this.Advertisement [asset|aid=743|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=f0c58f0daa49460d8c102dfdf4825157-Kalb-MacKinnon_1_Pub.mp3] The Huskies host the Sexsmith Vipers at 8pm at the North Peace Arena on Saturday night.Their next game won’t be until January, although they will also hit the ice for Skate with the Huskies, at 3pm on December 28th.last_img read more

Bruins’ Afflalo is missing in action

first_imgThis was not Arron Afflalo. Nothing Afflalo did resembled the brilliant guard he had become at UCLA. “My team looks to me for a lot of different things,” Afflalo said. “If I don’t provide that, we’ll struggle. This was the worst game of my career.” No one would argue that. Afflalo wasn’t the same in practice last week, either. He had recently been named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and an All-American. He said those accolades didn’t have any effect on him, but maybe he didn’t realize it. “In practice the past couple of days, he hasn’t been shooting the ball as often as I would like him to shoot it,” coach Ben Howland said. “In other words, you play in the game exactly how you practice. So he has to come out in practice on Saturday looking to shoot, looking to score. We talked about it after the game and even at halftime.” Afflalo wasn’t pointing fingers at anyone but himself, but the fact he took only seven shots wasn’t a good thing for the Bruins. He shouldered the blame for the upset, but there was plenty of blame to go around. “I don’t want to force the issue and get shots for myself, but I feel my team is better when I’m better,” Afflalo said. As Afflalo goes, so does UCLA. Afflalo didn’t demand the ball, but maybe he should have. This was the same guy that made a last-second shot against USC to win on the road. He had three fouls by halftime, but that wasn’t the only reason Howland sat him on the bench to start the second half. “It was partly foul trouble and partly him being tentative,” Howland said. “He’s just got to be aggressive.” Shooters aren’t always on, but when Afflalo’s shot has been off, UCLA always had his defense to rely on. Not even that was good Friday. He held Ubaka scoreless at Cal, but Ubaka returned the favor at Staples Center. Afflalo was off from the start, as he missed a pair of free throws 58 seconds into the game. His first basket of the game – a reverse layup – came 20 minutes and 24seconds into the game. How did that happen? “We’ll have to go back and watch the tape,” Howland said. “I’m not sure why we couldn’t get him more shots.” Afflalo, the elder statesman on a team with no seniors, had no motivational speech afterward. He said with the way he played, he didn’t have the right to say anything. “There’s no mystery about it,” Afflalo said. “The way I played tonight, that’s the majority of the reason we lost.” jill.painter@dailynews.com (818) 713-3615 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Against Cal, Afflalo took just two shots by halftime, and seven total. He scored just three points, breaking a streak of 29 consecutive games in double figures. He fouled out. center_img The player he was assigned to guard – Ayinde Ubaka – was the game’s leading scorer with 29 points. Afflalo didn’t stick around to shake hands with Cal players afterward, either. He was out of rhythm, out of sorts, out of everything. And UCLA followed suit. It should be no surprise, then, that UCLA lost to Cal 76-69 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Afflalo this was not. last_img read more

Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth: Mesut Ozil scores and assists as Gunners return to winning ways to go top of Premier League

first_imgArsenal bounced back from a heavy Boxing Day defeat to beat Bournemouth 2-0 and return top of the Premier League.The three points means Arsenal could be top going into 2016, depending on tomorrow’s meeting between Leicester and Man City.Arsene Wenger will have wanted to see a reaction from his Gunners side after the 4-0 drubbing at Southampton and they certainly provided that.Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista – starting for the first time in over a month – opened the scoring after heading home Mesut Ozil’s corner – yet another assist for the German playmaker.Another German in Per Mertesacker should have doubled Arsenal’s tally as he headed the ball wide from point-blank range.Ozil was then on the scoresheet in the second half, when he combined well with Olivier Giroud before finishing superbly past Artur Boruc.Defeat for Bournemouth also ends their run of six matches unbeaten, as Eddie Howe’s side boosted their chances of Premier League survival.Arsene Wenger made four changes to the side that lost 48 hours earlier at St Mary’s, with Calum Chambers, Gabriel, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs coming into the XI.Eddie Howe’s resurgent Bournemouth, meanwhile, went into the tie full of confidence after most recently beating Chelsea, Man United and West Brom and drawing with Swansea.The Cherries’ Josh King was denied with an early shot at Petr Cech, after a quiet start at the Emirates.The home side began to grow into the game and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who looked lively after being restored to the line-up, made an exciting run down the wing to earn the Gunners a corner.Ozil took the resulting set piece to deliver his 16th assist of the season, putting a floated ball to the edge of the six-yard box for Gabriel, 25, to score his first Arsenal goal.Wenger’s men dominated after the goal and they pushed for a second, very nearly adding to their tally when Ozil’s corner came in and Boruc tipped a header onto the post. It ricocheted off the frame and straight at Mertesacker, whose face quickly connected with the ball and trickled past the post from three yards.Bournemouth ventured forward early in the second period, but Cech was on hand to grab Adam Smith’s cross, with the Czech goalkeeper determined to keep a clean sheet after Saturday’s showing.It was then 2-0 after 63 minutes, as Ozil played a one-two with Giroud, getting the return ball inside the box, controlling and finishing well into the far corner, low past the goalkeeper.Arsenal had the ascendancy and nearly grabbed a third when Ramsey pulled the ball back for Giroud, who has scored six goals in his last five Arsenal games, but the Frenchman could not get the ball out of his feet quick enough.Giroud then tested Boruc, who saved well and parried but Walcott could not convert the follow up, as Arsenal ran out comfortable winners in the end. Mesut Ozil 1last_img read more

EDEL IS HOPING GARTH CAN ANSWER HER PRAYERS FOR A SECOND TIME

first_imgGarth Brooks fan Edel is devastated.A Garth Brooks fanatic who received eight concert tickets from the singing sensation is hoping he can answer her prayers for a second time.Letterkenny woman Edel Kirwan-Roulston queued for two days but missed out on getting tickets for the first three shows.When the millionaire singer heard of her plight while appearing on Highland Radio, he promised her eight tickets between herself and her sister. True to his word, Garth arranged for his American office to send the tickets to the Letterkenny woman.But now Brooks fanatic Edel has been left devastated again after Garth said it was five concerts or no concerts at all.However, Edel says she fully backs her idol’s stance on the cancelled shows but hopes he can answer her prayers for a second time.“I am gutted because of all we went through to get tickets and then Garth himself came to our rescue. “But I have to say I back him 100% on all concerts or no concerts. It’s just not fair on those who booked for Monday and Tuesday.“They are every bit as entitled to see Garth as those who booked for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows. So for me it’s all five concerts or no concert at all.“Garth has answered my prayers once and I just hope he can answer them again,” said Edel.Edel said she has literally cried her eyes out since hearing the news that Garth may not be coming to Ireland at all.“I do hope things are sorted and I know they are trying to come to some sort of arrangement. “But this should never have happened and both the promoter and the GAA should have ensured that this kind of thing could never have happened.“I haven’t slept since this news broke and I won’t until I hear that Garth is coming and playing all five concerts,” she said.EDEL IS HOPING GARTH CAN ANSWER HER PRAYERS FOR A SECOND TIME was last modified: July 5th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:cancelled concertsCroke ParkdonegalEdel KirwanGarth Brookslast_img read more

TUBRIDY HOPING DANIEL WILL ‘TANGO’ OVER TO DO LATE LATE SHOW

first_imgDaniel (with the quiff!) and partner Kristina on Strictly Come Dancing.Ryan Tubridy is hoping Strictly Come Dancing star Daniel O’Donnell will ‘tango across the Irish Sea’ for a very special Late Late Country Show this Friday.The RTE host will stage a special show dedicated to country music this Friday night.Tubridy said the show will be the Toy Show equivalent for country music fans.The TV presenter said he felt for the singing sensation and how he was overcome with nerves on the BBC show. Turbid told Highland Radio “We’re hoping Daniel can tango across The Irish Sea – and take part on the show.“I think he was brilliant on the show, and it must have been such a nerve-wracking experience for him.“I know from my own experience the difficulty in learning how to dance.“I had to do a dancing segment for The Toy Show – so I had to learn how to dance. “I’ve got two left-feet, and you don’t appreciate how difficult it is to learn how to dance properly.“The co-ordination, timing and all aspects of it have to be perfect, and when you’ve got two odd feet like me – it’s not easy.“So I admire Daniel for having the courage to take part, and I can understand and appreciate how stressed he must have been.”Tubridy is set to have a host of country stars on the show and will discuss why the country and western movement has enjoyed a revival across Ireland.TUBRIDY HOPING DANIEL WILL ‘TANGO’ OVER TO DO LATE LATE SHOW was last modified: October 21st, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:daniel o’donnellStrictly Come DancingTANGOlast_img read more

MAN TO SKATEBOARD THE LENGTH OF IRELAND STARTING IN DONEGAL!

first_imgA 24 year old skateboarder is to kick-off a fundraising trip tomorrow which will take him the length of the country starting in Malin Head.Edward Downey hopes the fundraising campaign will help provide a skateboarding park for Kilkenny.In the first step of many, Ed is embarking on a journey from the northmost tip of Ireland  at Malin Head to its most southerly point at Mizen Head. Starting tomorrow (THURS), Ed is aiming to longboard 412 miles in 7 days; breaking the existing record of 11 days.The website recording the event, details and progress is www.boardman.ie. This is an incredible challenge which will require outstanding physical and mental perseverance. Although the challenge is colossal, the effort will all be in vain if support cannot be rallied in his and the cause’s favour.Kilkenny is the most populous city/town in Ireland without a skatepark.Members of the skating community of Kilkenny struggle to obtain, let alone attain an area in which to practice their skills. Two groups, Urban Sports Kilkenny and Kilkenny360 were founded in recent years to support local skateboarders, rollerbladers and bmx-ers who have been campaigning for a skatepark facility for several years (extending into decades). Successive Kilkenny County Councils have voiced their support for the cause but have reneged on promises to deliver a skatepark. Recently, the aforementioned groups have taken matters into their own hands and need your support to make this dream of many a reality. MAN TO SKATEBOARD THE LENGTH OF IRELAND STARTING IN DONEGAL! was last modified: September 19th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Edward DowneyMalin Headskateboard parklast_img read more

COUNTDOWN TO CROKER: DDTV – THE EXPERTS GIVE THEIR VERDICTS AT DONEGAL DAILY FORUM

first_imgIt was all GAA and less cabaret.Some of the country’s best-known pundits were guests of Donegal Daily and St Eunan’s GAA Club at a packed All-Ireland forum at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny this week. The panel spent more than two hours answering questions about Sunday’s big Minor and Senior finals.Here we hear who Kevin Cassidy, Oisin McConville, Mickey Harte and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh think will lift the Sam Maguire – and why!Many thanks to our friends Shane Wallace and Charlie Collins at DonegalTV for the excellent coverage on the night.Simply click on the video to view.  COUNTDOWN TO CROKER: DDTV – THE EXPERTS GIVE THEIR VERDICTS AT DONEGAL DAILY FORUM was last modified: September 19th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ALL-IRELAND FINALDDTVDonegal Dailyexpertsforumlast_img read more

GAA NEWS: BUNCRANA U14’S SET TO HOST JOHN MCFADDEN CUP COMPETITION THIS WEEKEND

first_imgBuncrana GAA Notes: Health & Wellbeing Conference 2015.Many leading health experts nationally and locally are contributing to the first ever Donegal GAA Health & Wellbeing conference on April 15th from 7.00pm (registration from 6.00pm) in Jackson’s Hotel Ballybofey. This free event is aimed at supporting and invigorating all those GAA volunteers who are driving this important work within the Association. It should be of particular benefit to players, coaches, managers, referees and club officers across all our disciplines of Gaelic Football, Hurling, Ladies Football, Camogie, Handball and Rounders. However, the variety of practical advice and information will be of benefit to those involved with clubs in any capacity and indeed any sport who are interested in learning more about Health and Wellbeing. Anyone intending to go should contact Aine Daly, the Club Health and Wellbeing Officer. Underage NewsParish LeagueRegistrations for the Parish League are on this Tuesday 14th at 3.30pm in the Scarvey for children born in 2005, 2006 & 2007.Topaz Cash for ClubsThere’s only 3 weeks left to collect these cards and we are still a bit away from the 300 target. So please, if anyone has cards filled then give them to any manager/committee member ASAP! We could be in with a great chance to win €€€€ here….don’t worry if you haven’t got a card as they have them at the counter of your Topaz station….. As much help as possible would be appreciated!!Minor HurlersBuncrana Minor hurlers continued their unbeaten start to their league campaign when they made the short trip to O’Donnell Park to take on St Eunans. The game started brightly for the Scarvey boys and they led from the throw in but were a bit wasteful in front of goal. In fairness, the Letterkenny boys never gave up and at one stage got the score back to just 5 points between the teams. The second half saw Buncrana pull away and run out convincing winners on a scoreline of 6:13 to 1:9. Patrick Wilson and Paul Tourish will be best pleased with their performances. As some of the boys only played well in patches, a general rise in standard of play and fitness will be required by all as the season progresses into the Championship. This might seem a bit harsh when you look at the winning margin but anyone who has been involved in or watched this particular squad develop over the years will know what they are capable of. Scorers: Oisin Grant 3:0, Dylan Duffy 1:3, Sam Doherty 1:2, Ben Doherty 0:4, Daniel Deery 1:0, Tom Clare 0:2, Paul Nelson 0:1, Darren Doherty 0:1.John McFadden Cup Buncrana U14s are hosting the John Mc Fadden Cup this Saturday. This is one of the highlights of the Clubs year and is always guaranteed to bring a large crowd to the Scarvey and features some excellent games with many stars of the future giving it their all. There will be 8 teams from all over Ulster coming to compete and hoping to go home with the Cup. This is always a great occasion and well worth a trip down to the Scarvey.Training TimesFootballU18 Minor Football Tuesdays at 5.45pm U16 Boys Football Monday’s 4.15pm in the Scarvey.U14 Tuesdays 7-8.30 and Fridays 4.14-5.45 (new and old players always welcome)U12 Boys Football on Friday evening at 7.00pm in Scarvey.U10 Boys Football Friday’s from 6.30pm in ScarveyU8 Boys Football Friday’s 6.30pm in ScarveyU6 Boys & Girls Friday Evenings from 6.30pm – 7.30pm in The ScarveyU8 & U10 Girls Saturdays 10.30 – 11.30 in the ScarveyHurlingU8 & U10 Hurling on Sunday’s from 11-12 in the ScarveyU14 Hurling on Tuesday 7 – 8.30pmU16 Hurling on Wednesday from 6.30pmGirls (U12/14/16) 7-8pm on Monday in the Scarvey.Mizen to Malin FundraiserThe Club is hosting a Table Quiz in the Lake of Shadows on 30th April so please get your thinking caps on and reserve the date. More details to follow including starting time, etc, once they have been confirmed.Club MerchandiseElizabeth Anne is now taking orders on the first Tuesday of every month. Contact her on 086 0604075.Club LottoMuch thanks to Claire Doherty and her sister Roisin for volunteering at very short notice to do the Club Lotto in the pubs on Saturday night. Roisin has played Minor and Senior Ladies in the past. The numbers drawn last week were 6, 8, 27, 29. There was no winner so the Jackpot goes up to €5,200. If no winner by the end of the month we will be drawing €500 for some lucky punter!Gaatraining.com has released a new eBook on GAA training:The Three Tiers: A Fresh Approach to Physical Preparation in Gaelic GamesAs part of the promotional launch every club that downloads a copy is entered into a draw for a set of jerseys!! The eBook can be found here: www.gaatraining.com/shopThis is a fantastic new resource for GAA clubs and a first of its kind within the GAA community.Club WebsiteWant to keep right up-to-date on local Buncrana Club news? Just enter your email address into “Receive Club Notes by Email” on the club’s homepage at http://www.buncranagaa.com/ to automatically receive the Club’s Weekly Notes.You can renew your annual membership online now at the website too – and you don’t even have to be in Buncrana! Membership now open worldwide…just click on the link below to renew onlinehttp://www.buncranagaa.com/buncrana-gaa-club-membership/Check out Buncrana GAA Club Calendar on our website for period March – to April. Great sporting activities for children, boys and girls, and young adults http://www.buncranagaa.com/calender/Club Notes: Anyone who would like to receive a copy of the weekly club notes should email Jim at buncrana.pro@gmail.comto be included on the mailing list. If you have any items which you think should be included in the club’s weekly notes, please email Jim at buncrana.pro@gmail.com by 6pm on each Sunday for consideration. To keep up to date with all the latest goings-on, please join us on www.facebook.com/buncranagaa or www.twitter.com/buncranagaa@buncranagaa, or visit our website www.buncranagaa.comGAA NEWS: BUNCRANA U14’S SET TO HOST JOHN MCFADDEN CUP COMPETITION THIS WEEKEND was last modified: April 13th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:buncranaGAANoticesSportlast_img read more

Footage re-emerges of West Ham striker and Arsenal star fighting while teammates

first_img Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? gameday REVEALED Latest Premier League News Back in 2013, footage was released of Arnautovic reacting badly to a tackle by the Greece international – who duly went to apologise to his fallen comrade.As the defender walked away, the former Stoke City man clearly said something to enrage the 30-year-old who charged at the Austrian.While fellow teammates intervened, they were powerless to stop Papastathopoulos slapping Arnautovic round the back of the head.That summer, the forward was allowed to join Stoke City, while Papastathopoulos alos left – joining Bundelsiga rivals Borussia Dortmund. ALTERED REVEALED 2 Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade silverware Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener smart causal center_img huge blow England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won possible standings 2 Marko Arnautovic and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will face off this weekend when West Ham United visit Arsenal, and the duo have quite the volatile history together.The pair, who played for Werder Bremen together in the early stages of their respective careers, were once involved in a furious training ground scrap. How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury As if the clash on Saturday between the London rivals needed an extra edge, both sides are without a point from their opening two Premier League games.After spending over £100million in the transfer market in the summer, Manuel Pellegrini will be keen to pick up his first points sooner rather than later with the Hammers.While for Arsenal, Unai Emery has a second chance to get a home win, having watch side lose 2-0 to champions Manchester City on the opening weekend. Fellow teammates had to stop the fight back in 2013 The Premier League table currently makes for bleak reading for both London clubslast_img read more

A brief history of Bafana Bafana

first_imgBafana Bafana before a match withEquatorial Guinea at Loftus VersfeldStadium in Pretoria/Tshwane. South Africans cheer their team on.(Images: Chris Kirchhoff,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)MEDIA CONTACTS • Bafana BafanaMatlhomola MorakeTeam Media Officer+27 82 7444 919morake@safa.net• South African Football AssociationMorio SanyaneDirector: Communications and Media+27 82 99 00 835morio@safa.net• FifaWolfgang EichlerMedia Officer+27 11 567 2010+27 83 2010 471media-sa@fifa.orgDelia FischerMedia Officer+27 11 567 2010+27 11 567 2524+27 83 201 0470media-sa@fifa.org• 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa LocalOrganising CommitteeJermaine CraigMedia Manager+27 11 567 2010+27 83 201 0121jermaine.craig@2010oc.comBrad MorganSouth Africa’s national football team, known as Bafana Bafana (“The Boys”), has a relatively short international history. That’s because the first team to represent all South Africans only played its first match in 1992 – two years before the country’s first democratic elections.Bafana’s first match was played in Durban, against Cameroon, on 7 July 1992. It proved to be a strong debut against one of Africa’s leading teams, which had made the quarterfinals of the Fifa World Cup only two years previously. Doctor Khumalo scored the game’s only goal to give South Africa a 1-0 win.Despite that victory over the Indomitable Lions, the effects of isolation soon showed as South Africa failed to qualify for the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations after suffering four defeats in succession – to Cameroon, Zambia, Nigeria and Zambia.Africa Cup of Nations 1996Two years later, however, Bafana Bafana’s place at the Africa Cup of Nations finals was assured when the country hosted the tournament.Under coach Clive Barker, the national team rose to the occasion, topping its group after beating Cameroon 3-0 and Angola 1-0 before losing 1-0 to Egypt.In the quarterfinals, Bafana beat Algeria 2-1 to set up a semi-final clash against Ghana, the only team that had won all its games up until that stage of the competition. Putting in one of the finest performances ever by the South African national team, the home side triumphed 3-0 in front of 75 000 spectators at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium. (The stadium, now known as Soccer City, has been extensively refurbished as the showpiece venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.)Bafana faced Tunisia in the final, after the North Africans had defeated Zambia 4-2 in the semi-finals. In front of a crowd of 80 000 at the FNB Stadium, Neil Tovey’s men gave the supporters what they wanted by beating the Tunisians 2-0, with Mark Williams netting both goals.1996: the Boys play BrazilStill in 1996, the potential of South African football was demonstrated when Bafana Bafana took on world champions Brazil, who were at full strength, in a Mandela Cup match in Johannesburg.Philemon Masinga put South Africa into a 25th-minute lead and Doctor Khumalo then made it 2-0 to the home side at the break, to the delight of the Bafana fans.The Brazilians fought back after the break, with Flavio netting in the 56th minute. Twelve minutes later, Rivaldo made it 2-2.Then, with only four minutes left, Bebeto, one of the heroes of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winning team, snatched the winner for the visitors.Although South Africa lost, the match provided ample proof that the team’s Africa Cup of Nations title was no fluke. It also proved to be a wonderful celebration of the game of football, and of the role Nelson Mandela played in bringing democracy to the country.1998: Fifa World CupBafana Bafana continued to excel on the international stage when, in 1997, the team qualified for the Fifa World Cup finals for the first time.They faced the difficult task of taking on the hosts, France, in their first match in Group C. The French, with probably the best team in the country’s history, beat South Africa 3-0. France went on to beat Brazil by the same score in the final.Bafana Bafana drew 1-1 with Denmark in the team’s second match, then shared a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia. The two draws and one loss saw South Africa exit the event in the group stages after finishing third in its group.1998: Africa Cup of NationsAlso in 1998, Bafana defended their Africa Cup of Nations title in Burkina Faso. In a controversial decision, taken shortly before the finals, coach Clive Barker was sacked and Jomo Sono appointed in a caretaker role. Some forecasts were dire, but the South African team again rose to the challenge to perform well.They finished second behind the Ivorians in their group, after a 0-0 draw against Angola, a 1-1 draw with the Ivory Coast and a 4-1 win over Nambia. A young striker by the name of Benni McCarthy made his mark by netting four goals inside 21 minutes in the victory over the Namibians.In the quarterfinals, South Africa beat Morocco 2-1 as McCarthy and David Nyathi netted. That earned them a semi-final place against the Democratic Republic of Congo.In the semi-final, McCarthy scored on the hour-mark to level the scores after South Africa had fallen behind in the 48th minute. He then struck in extra time to earn Bafana a 2-1 win and a place in the final against Egypt, who had beaten the hosts Burkina Faso in the other semi-final.The dream of successive titles was brought to an end in the final when the Pharaohs scored two early goals to take a 2-0 victory. Nonetheless, given the uncertain build-up to the tournament, it was a good showing by South Africa.1999: First win over European oppositionDespite very average results in 1999, Bafana managed to win the Afro-Asian Trophy after beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Cape Town and then drawing 0-0 in Riyadh.In November 1999, Bafana Bafana achieved a notable milestone when they scored their first win over European opposition. It came in the Nelson Mandela Challenge against Sweden at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Siyabonga Nomvete was the hero, netting an 87th minute goal to snatch a late victory for the home side.At the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000, hosted by Ghana and Nigeria, Bafana Bafana topped their group, beating Gabon 3-1, the DRC 1-0, and playing to a 0-0 draw with Algeria. In the quarterfinals, Siyabonga Nomvete scored the only goal as South Africa eliminated one of the hosts, Ghana.In the semi-finals, SA’s footballing nemesis, Nigeria, beat Bafana 2-0. South Africa ultimately finished third after beating Tunisia 4-3 from the penalty spot after the teams had played to a 2-2 draw in the playoff.2002: Fifa World CupAlthough South Africa’s Africa Cup of Nations performances had gradually slipped over three continental finals – from winners to finalists to semi-finalists – their performances in at the 2002 Fifa World Cup in South Korea and Japan were noteworthy.Competing in group B, they drew 2-2 with Paraguay and then beat Slovenia 1-0. That left Bafana with a shot of making it to the round of 16, but a tough encounter against highly fancied Spain awaited the side.In a back-and-forth tussle, Spain took an early lead through Raul. Benni McCarthy struck back in the 31st minute to make it 1-1. Gaizka Mendieta then edged the Spaniards in front with a goal in first-half injury time.Only eight minutes into the second stanza, Lucas Radebe levelled the scores. Raul, however, restored Spain’s lead three minutes later, and that’s how it ended: South Africa 2, Spain 3.At the same time as Bafana Bafana and Spain were doing battle, Slovenia and Paraguay were in action.The Slovenians took a 1-0 lead into the break, which meant South Africa would qualify for the next round regardless of whether or not they lost to Spain. Paraguay, however, came roaring back in the second half, netting three times to win 3-1.The South Americans’ third goal, scored in the 84th minute, was enough to see them progress at South Africa’s expense, but only by the narrowest of margins: both had the same number of points, and the same goal difference. Paraguay, though, had scored and conceded six goals to South Africa’s five and five.2002: Africa Cup of Nations slideSouth Africa’s Africa Cup of Nations slide continued in the finals held in Mali in 2002.Bafana Bafana qualified at the top of their group, albeit with a record of only one win and two draws. They opened with a 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso, and followed that up with another goalless draw against Ghana. A 3-1 victory over Morocco, however, was enough to open a path to the quarterfinals. There, Bafana Bafana met the hosts and were beaten 2-0.In 2003, the national side managed a record of only six wins, a draw and four losses. Worryingly, losses began to come against teams that South Africa needed to beat to maintain a strong Fifa world ranking – countries like Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Egypt.The decline was made clear for all to see at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. Despite opening with a 2-0 win over Benin, Bafana Bafana failed to progress beyond the group stages. They were humbled 4-0 by Nigeria, and drew 1-1 with Morocco.2004: World Cup bid succeedsIn May 2004, however, the mood of South African football fans was considerably brightened when the country won the right to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ – the first African country to be awarded the honour.And in November 2004, the Nigerian bogey was finally ended when Bafana Bafana beat the Super Eagles 2-1 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.Despite a decent showing as an invited team to the 2005 Concacaf Gold Cup, in which they drew three matches and beat Mexico 2-1, 2005 was not a good year for South Africa’s national football team. They scraped wins over lightly regarded teams early in the year, but ended it with four losses and a draw in their last five matches.2006: Bafana hit bottom in EgyptAlthough they qualified for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the tournament proved to be a disaster for South Africa. They lost all three matches they played and failed to score a single goal as they crashed out of the tournament as the bottom team in their group.With four years remaining until 2010 and the national team in disarray – and down to 72nd in Fifa’s world rankings – a decision was made to acquire a big-name coach to prepare Bafana for the World Cup. Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, who had coached Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Saudi Arabia in previous World Cup finals, took up the post.Parreira achieved his first goal of earning qualification for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, but South Africa once again bowed out in the first round.2008: Improvement under ParreiraThey finished bottom of group D in Ghana after two draws and one loss, which was, at least, an improvement over their previous campaign. Bafana drew 1-1 with both Angola and Senegal, and lost 3-1 to Tunisia.After that, South Africa appeared to be making progress under Parreira, and a stylish 3-0 victory over Paraguay in March 2008 was cause for optimism. The following month, however, Parreira abruptly resigned his position to be with his wife, who had recently undergone surgery for cancer.His replacement was another Brazilian, recommended by Parreira: Joel Santana, who brought with him an excellent record in Brazilian club football, but no international experience.2008/09: Santana in at the deep endSantana was thrown in at the deep end, taking over just before a series of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. He didn’t know the players, he didn’t have time to work with them – and South Africa failed to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.The tide seemed to be turning, however, when South Africa scored a national record five consecutive wins in succession – over Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Malawi.However, disappointing losses to Chile and Portugal in early 2009, either side of a last-gasp win over Norway, suggested that Bafana still had considerable ground to make up if they were to progress beyond the group stages of the 2010 World Cup.2009: Fifa Confederations CupAt the Confederations Cup, a warm-up event for the 2010 Fifa World Cup played in South Africa in June 2009, Bafana Bafana gave a good account of themselves in reaching the semi-finals. With a place in the final on the line, they went down 1-0 to eventual champions Brazil, who scored only three minutes from time.Against Spain, in the play-off for third and fourth, Bafana pushed the European champions into extra time before succumbing 3-2.With good performances against the world’s two top teams, confidence in the national side was running high. Sadly, this proved to be a false dawn.2009: Santana out, Parreira back inIn August and September 2009, Serbia beat Bafana 3-1 in Tshwane/Pretoria, Germany beat them 2-0 in Leverkusen in September, and Ireland won 1-0 in Limerick before South Africa scored an unconvincing 1-0 win over minnows Madagascar at home.And in October 2009, Bafana went down 1-0 to Norway in Oslo and 1-0 to Iceland in Reykjavik. Eight losses in nine matches saw Bafana Bafana drop to a 16-year low of 85th in Fifa’s world rankings.Not long afterwards, on 19 October 2009, the South African Football Association announced that Joel Santana had stepped down as coach of South Africa’s national team.On 23 October his replacement was announced: none other than Carlos Alberto Parreira.“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Parreira told Fifa in an interview the following month. “When we have this team up to a good level of fitness, they will prove far more competitive. This side has played at a high level before. When I worked here the first time we beat Paraguay 3-0, and that’s the standard I want the team to get back to.”The coach will now turn his focus to a training camp in his native Brazil in March, when he will have four weeks to work with his squad.“We’ll be able to get them into good shape,” he said. “They will be with us for four weeks. We are going to go to Brazil. We are hoping to play about six games against good opposition. It is going to be very beneficial.”last_img read more