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The South Africa national football team or Bafana Bafana is the national team of South Africa and is controlled by the South African Football Association. They returned to the world stage in 1992, after years of being banned from FIFAmarker.


Football first arrived in South Africa through colonialism in the late nineteenth century, as the game was popular among British soldiers. From the earliest days of the sport in South Africa until the end of apartheid, organised football was affected by the country's system of racial segregation. The all-white Football Association of South Africa (FASA), was formed in 1892, while the South African Indian Football Association (SAIFA), the South African Bantu Football Association (SABFA) and the South African Coloured Football Association (SACFA) were founded in 1903, 1933 and 1936 respectively.

South Africa was one of four African nations to attend FIFA's 1953 congress, at which the four demanded, and won, representation on the FIFA executive committee. Thus the four nations (South Africa, Ethiopiamarker, Egyptmarker and Sudanmarker) founded the Confederation of African Football in 1956, and the South African representative, Fred Fell, sat at the first meeting as a founding member. It soon became clear however that South Africa's constitution prohibited racially mixed teams from competitive sport and so they could only send either an all-black side or an all-white side to the planned 1957 African Cup of Nations. This was unacceptable to the other members of the Confederation and South Africa were disqualified from the competition, however some sources say that they withdrew voluntarily.

At the second CAF conference in 1958 South Africa were formally expelled from CAF. The all-white (FASA) were admitted to FIFAmarker in the same year, but in August 1960 it was given an ultimatum of one year to fall in line with the non-discriminatory regulations of FIFA. On 26 September 1961 at the annual FIFA conference, the South African association was formally suspended from FIFA. Sir Stanley Rous, president of The Football Association of England and a champion of South Africa's FIFA membership, was elected FIFA President a few days later. Rous was adamant that sport, and FIFA in particular, should not embroil itself in political matters and against fierce opposition he continued to resist attempts to expel South Africa from FIFA. The suspension was lifted in January 1963 after a visit to South Africa by Rous in order to investigate the state of football in the country.

Rous declared that if the suspension were not lifted, football there would be discontinued, possibly to the point of no recovery. The next annual conference of FIFA in October 1964 took place in Tokyo and was attended by a larger contingent of representatives from African and Asian associations and here the suspension of South Africa's membership was re-imposed. In 1976, after the Soweto uprising, they were formally expelled from FIFA.

In 1991, with the apartheid system beginning to be demolished, a new multiracial South African Football Association was formed, and admitted to FIFA. On 7 July 1992, the South African national team played their first game in two decades, beating Cameroon 1-0. South Africa made the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, but failed to get out of the first round each time. They hosted (and won) the 1996 African Nations Cup and will host the 2010 World Cup, the first African nation to do so.

South Africa failed to impress local supporters by not scoring a single goal in the African Nations Cup of 2006. In light of these poor performances it was decided that the hiring of a more experienced manager was essential. Rumours began to fly, prior to the 2006, that England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson was to be the man for the job, with SAFA apparently offering him R30 million to take Bafana-Bafana to glory in 2010. However this has since been denied. More recently the former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has accepted the job. After accepting the job, he was awarded R100 million for a four year contract. His term as manager started 1 January 2007 targeting 2010 FIFA World Cup but he resigned in April 2008 due to family reasons.

Joel Santana signed to coach until 2010.

South Africa hosted the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, a year before their World Cup, and finished in fourth place, coming through the group stages with a win over and a draw with , despite a loss to . They then lost in the semi-finals to , conceding a late free-kick after holding the South Americans at bay for most of the match. In the 3rd-place play-off, they lost to Spain after extra time, despite leading 1-0 at one stage. For many commentators , the ability of Bafana Bafana to stand up to the South American and European champions showed just how far the team had come.


International record

World Cup

FIFA World Cup
Appearances: 2
Year Result Pos P W D L GS GA
19301962 Did not enter - - - - - - -
19661990 Banned from FIFA because of Apartheid - - - - - - -
1994 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1998 Round 1 24 3 0 2 1 3 7
2002 Round 1 17 3 1 1 1 5 5
2006 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2010 Qualified as hosts - - - - - - -
Total 3/19 6 1 3 2 8 12

Confederations Cup

Year Round GP W D L GS GA
1992 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1995 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1997 Round 1 3 0 1 2 5 7
1999 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2001 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2003 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2005 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2009 4th place 5 1 1 3 4 5
Total 2/8 7 1 2 4 7 9

African Nations Cup

Year Round
1957 Disqualified because of apartheid
1959 to 1992 Banned from CAF
1994 Did not qualify
1996 Champions
1998 Runners up
2000 Third place
2002 Quarter-finals
2004 Round 1
2006 Round 1
2008 Round 1
2010 Did not qualify

Former Coaches

Most capped players

Player South Africa career Caps (Goals)
Aaron Mokoena 1999-present 94 (1)
Benni McCarthy 1997-present 77 (32)
Shaun Bartlett 1995-2005 74 (28)
John Moshoeu 1993-2004 73 (8)
Delron Buckley 1998-present 72 (10)
Siyabonga Nomvethe 1999-present 72 (15)
Lucas Radebe 1992-2003 70 (2)
Andre Arendse 1995-2004 67 (0)
Sibusiso Zuma 1998-2008 67 (13)
Helman Mkhalele 1994-2001 66 (8)

Top goalscorers

Player South Africa career Goals (Caps)
Benni McCarthy 1997-present 32 (77)
Shaun Bartlett 1995-2005 28 (74)
Phil Masinga 1992-2001 18 (58)
Siyabonga Nomvethe 1999-present 15 (72)
Sibusiso Zuma 1998-2008 13 (67)
Delron Buckley 1998-present 10 (72)
Doctor Khumalo 1992-2001 9 (50)
Teko Modise 2007-present 9 (40)
Helman Mkhalele 1994-2001 8 (66)
John Moshoeu 1993-2004 8 (73)

Current Squad

The following players were called up for the 24-man squad to friendly match against Japan and Jamaica on the 14 and 17 of November 2009, respectively.

Recent call-ups

Recent and Future Matches

Last 5 Matches



  1. Goldblatt, The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football, p493

External links

17 November 2009
0-0 Draw
Bloemfonteinmarker, South Africa
14 November 2009
0-0 Draw
Port Elizabethmarker, South Africa
13 October 2009
1-0 Loss
Reykjavikmarker, Icelandmarker
10 October 2009
1-0 Loss
Oslomarker, Norwaymarker
19 September 2009
1-0 Win
Kimberleymarker, South Africa
3 March 2010
Estadio Nacionalmarker, Santiagomarker, Chilemarker
17 March 2010
Independence Parkmarker, Kingstonmarker, Jamaicamarker
11 June 2010
Group Match
Soccer City Stadiummarker, Johannesburgmarker, South Africa
16 June 2010
Group Match
Loftus Versfeld Stadiummarker, Pretoriamarker, South Africa
22 June 2010
Group Match
Free State Stadiummarker, Bloemfonteinmarker, South Africa

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