May Matamela Magic follow Madiba Magic

26 May 2019 - 00:00 By SUNDAY TIMES

When the late, great former president Nelson Mandela was inaugurated 25 years ago, SA was introduced to the concept of Madiba Magic. As we saw with Bafana Bafana, Orlando Pirates and the Springboks in 1995 and 1996, it worked wonders. Those teams were winners in every sense. Now that Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in to the highest office of the country, South African teams could use some Matamela Magic.
In what is SA's most fertile sporting winter in recent memory, the South African national women's football team (Banyana Banyana), the national men's under-20 side (Amajita), the national men's cricket team (the Proteas), the women's netball team (also Proteas) and the South African under-20 rugby side (Baby Boks) will take part in their respective World Cups in France, Poland, the UK and Argentina.
None of these teams, except for the Baby Boks, have won these World Cups and all will have a tough task doing so. However, they proudly represent the country and regardless of how they perform, they will have made the nation proud.
During Jacob Zuma's administration, South African sport did not have much to show for its efforts, but with a new dawn, new hope is also on the horizon. SA's teams have always held their own on the world stage but when there's a leader the country buys into and believes in, there's a positive spin-off. Who can forget how Bafana Bafana were galvanised by Madiba's arrival at Ellis Park in 1994 when they overturned a half-time deficit to beat a very good Zambian team.
Bafana will be in Egypt next month for the Africa Cup of Nations and they will also need a good dose of Matamela Magic, allied to their own skills and technical fortitude, to do well in the continental showpiece.
There's something about sport that makes us feel good about ourselves, even though we have problems with crime, unemployment and inequality in the development of our not-so-young democracy. Now that you've stood up, Matamela, please imbue our national teams with your magic in what will be a busy and defining winter for them. Lifikile ixesha lakho Matamela (Your time has arrived).

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