It is during times like these, when we the poor South Africans are faced with the grim reality of Eskom’s regrettable inability to keep the lights on, that we really need to indulge in escapism. But it is a double whammy that you suffer if, like me, you’ve been blessed with an insatiable desire to escape by watching sport, because it means there’s a chance that you’ll be left without both electricity and a television set that responds to the pressing of the ‘on’ button.
All the more reason why, now more than ever, one should visit stadiums as often as possible, more especially on weekends such as these where past and present Banyana Banyana stars come to visit the Tsakane stadium for a one-of-a-kind women’s-only friendly tournament on Saturday. I know I’ll be there, not least because I’ll be sitting pretty in the media box waiting for the opportunity to speak at close range with legends such as Portia Modise and current captain Janine van Wyk. But my greatest wish is not the chance to speak to either of these great women, but to another one of the current crop, Jermaine Seoposenwe, who is my favourite of the senior women’s national team players, but for reasons other than football.
This weekend is also the moment of truth for Banyana’s male counterparts, of course, because they will be engaged in a much more serious contest that has much greater stakes. Bafana Bafana will be playing against Libya in Sfax, Tunisia, in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday, where a draw will be enough to take them to the tournament which will be hosted in Egypt later this year. For them, I wish that they just make us proud for a change and actually qualify. And I’m not even asking them to win the match, but to just take a draw and qualify! That surely can’t be asking too much.
There’s also the matter of the mighty Proteas, who, thankfully, are playing the last two of their three T20 International matches against the uninspiring Sri Lanka this weekend. I wish for that bore to finish already, I can’t wait to see the back of Lasith Malinga and his troops. The reason? They’ve been the most non-competitive cricket team I’ve watched in a while in the shorter formats, a silhouette of the team that beat the selfsame Proteas in the two-match test series just a month ago. So dismal have they been that they suffered an embarrassing 5-0 thrashing in the One-Day series before losing the first T20 via the Super Over on Tuesday, after they had managed just five runs, chasing 15.
And then there’s Super Rugby, where I’m hoping my beloved Lions will carry their momentum to Singapore, where they’ll meet the Sunwolves on Saturday, on the back of that miraculous come-from-behind win against the Rebels.
I also wish for our high-flying neighbours, the Bulls, to be brought back to earth just a little by the Chiefs who visit Loftus Versfeld this weekend, because that would mean we go back to where we belong – the summit of the South African Conference log.