We can all agree that 2019 has been a mixed bag of fortunes when it comes to sports in South Africa. As a nation, there were moments we stood together and rallied behind the various sporting codes proving that Enoch Sontonga’s “Sounds the call to come together and united we shall stand.” was a profound proclamation that there is power in unity. As we enter 2020’s sporting calendar year and all its predictions, let us take a step back as a nation to reflect on 2019.
It began with the AFCON Cup of Nations in Egypt, where BAFANA BAFANA beat the mighty hosts of Egypt but were eventually knocked out by the Super Eagles of Nigeria. We then booked a ticket to the ICC cricket World Cup in England where the Proteas crumbled on the biggest stage and suffered their worst appearance in a Cricket World.
Our women sporting codes were the silver-lining when firstly in June, BANYANA BANYANA participated in their first World-Cup in China. Despite their early exist in the tournament, as a nation we were proud that Women’s Football finally became part of the national conversation. Our national women’s netball team also made us extremely proud when they made to the semi-final of the 2019 Netball World Cup also proving that netball is a sporting code on the rise.
Who can forget the greatest moment in 2019 when on the 2nd of November 2019 in Japan, Siya Kholisi and Rassie Erasmus led the Springboks to their third World Cup. The excitement and jubilation can still be felt today, proving that sport is indeed the greatest way of uniting a nation.
As we look ahead to 20PLENTY, here’s what we see in our Crystal Ball:
South African Ruby will continue to grow
Despite losing Rassie as coach, South African Rugby is in good hands. The spirit of the World Cup will continue to rub into our local franchises and improve our standard of rugby. With Sevens rugby and baby Bokks improving, there is a bright future ahead.
Cricket South Africa will struggle
A lot has been said about the state of affairs at Cricket South Africa. With many questioning the recent appointments of Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and the rest of the coaching staff. One wonders if this will take our cricket forward as a country.
Women will make more strides in sports
Desiree Ellis has done a sterling job in putting women’s football on the map again. Our national woman’s netball team last year proved that netball is also on the rise and the nation odd to take note. With critical conversations finally taking place in terms of funding and sponsoring women’s sport in South Africa. The future indeed looks bright.