Time to recap the year in sport, a year that sadly offered South African fans more awkward moments than awesome ones, but it was still a memorable year nevertheless. Between now and Friday we shall be tackling this subject in a variety of ways each day, first up, well let’s just get the pain over and done with. Let’s look at the biggest disappointments of the year.
The Proteas World Cup loss.
We had the best batsmen in the 50 over game, we had a bowling attack that was quite simply as good as we have ever had, and we had more than enough experience and variety to put the ‘Chokers tag’ to bed. We beat tournament favourites India in the group stages in a classic potential ‘choking environment’ and by doing so ensured an easier quarter final versus New Zealand. We then bowled those Black Caps out for a rather average total. We then got off to a good start in chasing down the total, but then we manufactured a truly incredible loss and with that sent tens of thousands of Proteas fans into another fit of rage.
It was a truly depressing, gut wrenching and mind blowing loss. Almost impossible to stomach for some and naturally earth shattering for the players themselves. 4 more years, we now have to again wait four more years.
The Springboks World Cup loss.
The Boks had a pretty crappy 2011 season. With injury problems dogging the players, and general incompetence dogging the coaching staff, the boys in green and gold were hardly favourites going into the game’s biggest tournament. But after a pleasing win over Wales and then a group topping triumph over the Samoan thugs, the Boks were showing what World Cup rugby was all about and really did look as good as anyone as the tournament moved into the knockout stages. Australia were their opponents, and a team that were no match for the Boks on the day, well were no match anywhere except for the scoreboard.
In what seemed a bad dream for Bok fans, having the lion’s share of territory, possession and just about anything else you would like to credit to John Smit and his men, they seemed to just be farting against the wind and Bryce Lawrence. They seemed powerless to a final result that seemed predetermined, and with every blow of Bryce’s whistle, that sinking feeling of disappointment grew more and more. This was my personal low of the year. There were tears, for only the second time in my sporting life, tears came from face at this result.
Bafana Bafana African Cup of Nations qualification.
In 2010 Bafana Bafana had the support of the nation in Africa’s first World Cup. We all wore our Bafana shirts on Fridays, we watched the games at fan parks and at the impressive stadiums built for the event, and we had great hope that despite their world ranking that they could qualify for the next round.
It wasn’t to be but we were optimistic that the team would grow from strength to strength from here. The 2012 African Cup of Nations could be their next big chance to do us proud, and qualification for it that first step to make it happen. And they were doing pretty well in making it happen in a group where they seemed to be impressing against Egypt, Niger and Sierre Leone. Going into their final game against SL, it appeared that they needed a simple draw at home to ensure qualification. Coach Pitso Mosimane even admitted to playing for the draw as Niger were behind against Egypt, a superior goal difference the natural factor for progression.
The game ended in a draw, Bafana and everyone celebrated, but the authorities told them otherwise. Niger went through, confusion reigned, and Bafana and all their fans were left hugely disappointed as they actually needed a win in that final game. Doh!
Minki van der Westhuizen engaged.
I knew that first marriage wouldn’t work out with Constant Visser. I always thought that old guy was a bit of a douche and never right for Minki. And I was right as they parted ways meaning Minki and I still had a chance in life. Then she goes and gets engaged to rugby player Ernst Joubert. Talk about a heartbreaking moment in the year as Minki is now surely off the market for good. Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.
What was your biggest sporting disappointment of the year? Share yours in the comments section below, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The best submission will get posted on the site and the writer will get a lovely case of Castle Draught in a bottle delivered to their door for the holidays!
And the winner of the beer is…
Below is his winning piece on the disappointments of 2011:
Imagine a time when there were men churning up the surface of a little island somewhere in the South Pacific called, New Zealand in their attempt at going where no team had gone before, defending a Rugby World Cup. Imagine a country who was so besotted with their beloved Springboks that they threw a massive sending off party, includingd the Minister of Sports and Recreation telling the said Springboks to go forth and ‘Moer hulle.’
Go forth and, bar a spell during the Welsh game, moer hulle they did. Topping Pool D with fair aplomb after fantastic running rugby performances against Fiji and Namibia and grinding out a painful win against the thugs that were Samoa, belief was starting to build that these Springboks could well soldier forth and conquer the world. Opposition were becoming nervous, fans were becoming expectant and PDivvy was becoming educated (by Rassie).
Next up were the Aussies in the quarter final, looking ordinary after a loss to Ireland and having a flyhalf who blew hot and cold faster than the French game plan, this lot looked ripe for the picking. Cue their secret weapon in the guise of one Bryce Lawrence. Further to the Springboks fluffing a few chances, Lawrence played in the ilk of Jopie Adlam, serving as a fourth loose forward for the Australians, paving the way for David Pocock to make merry at the break down. Lawrence, fresh from just reading the rules of rugby by Paddy O’Brien, was key at the breakdown phase and broke 45 million hearts when he blew the whistle on the Springbok’s World Cup ambitions.
Imagine a time when belief died, beer spilled, braais were overturned and disappointment swallowed up a nation. Harsh words were said, posts were made, articles written and the World Cup was won by the All Blacks. Kudos to the Kiwis for getting rid of the elephant which sat comfortably in their room for 24 years, but I would like to take a moment to salute Bryce. Never before have I been so speechlessly frustrated by one single being in my years and for that, Mr Lawrence, I would like to anoint thee my disappointment of 2011.