South Africa is hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The tournament kicks off on the 11th of June this year at Soccer City stadium in South Africa (86 days from now). The hosts will be playing in the opening match of the tournament. South Africa will be playing in it’s 3rd FIFA World Cup tournament in history. The country competed in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea / Japan. On both occasions South Africa was knocked out in the first round of the respective competitions. South Africa also hosted the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and finished in 4th place, losing in the semi-finals against 5 times FIFA World Cup winners Brazil.
For those of you who don’t know already, the South African national football team are nicknamed “Bafana Bafana”. South Africa is currently ranked at number 81 on the FIFA rankings. This is not the lowest that the country has been ranked on the FIFA rankings though. In 1993 (1 year after being allowed to compete in international soccer) South Africa was ranked at 109th on the FIFA Rankings. In 1996 (the same year that South Africa won the African Cup of Nations) the country was ranked at number 16, the highest it has ever been on the FIFA rankings.
Carlos Alberto Parreira (from Brazil) is the current head coach of the South African national football team. He took over coaching duties from Joel Santana in 2009. Before Joel Santana took over coaching duties for the South African national football team, Carlos Alberto Parreira was the South African national football coach between 2007 and 2008. Parreira is famous for being the coach behind Brazil’s 1994 FIFA World Cup victory in the United States. He also coached Brazil between 2003 and 2006.
Aaron Mokoena is the current captain of the South African National Football team. He’s also the most capped player in South African football history. He’s played in 99 matches for South Africa (since 1999). He currently plays his professional club soccer for English football club Portsmouth. Before he moved to Portsmouth in 2009 he played club football for English club Blackburn Rovers between 2005 and 2009. Before 2005 he played club football for Genk (in Belgium) and Ajax (in the Netherlands).
Benni McCarthy is the highest scoring South African footballer in history. He’s scored 32 goals in 78 matches for South Africa. McCarthy currently plays professional club football for West Ham United in England. Before moving here in 2010 he also played for Blackburn Rovers in England (between 2006 and 2010). Before 2006 he played for Porto (in Portugal), Celta de Vigo (in Spain), Ajax (in the Netherlands) and Seven Stars (in Cape Town, South Africa).
South Africa will be playing in the 3 following group matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup:
- 11 June 2010 – South Africa vs Mexico @ Soccer City, Johannesburg – Kickoff at 16:00
- 16 June 2010 – South Africa vs Uruguay @ Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria – Kickoff 20:30
- 22 June 2010 – South Africa vs France @Free State Stadium – Kickoff at 16:00