Johannesburg — Although South Africa and Egypt, Africa's representatives at the Confederations Cup, failed to win maximum points in their first games, they are still very much in the tournament and their performances give cause for optimism.
A little less than a year before the kick-off of the first World Cup tournament on African soil, South Africa's Bafana Bafana are determined to put up a good showing to boost the hope and confidence of their supporters.
It was in this spirit, boosted by a magnificent opening ceremony, that the host team walked onto the pitch in Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, on Sunday to confront the Asian champions, Iraq, in the opening match.
In a very physical encounter, and faced by an Iraqi side resilient to the intimidating sounds of the "Vuvuzela" - a kind of trumpet used by South African supporters to give vibe to the game and intimidate their adversaries - Bafana Bafana could not find the back of the net and thus failed to record a win.
They tried everything they could but young players like Thembinkosi Fanteni and Benard Parker proved unimpressive in a game of this magnitude. Credit must however be given to the Iraqi keeper, Mohamed Kassid, without whom South Africa would have walked away with maximum points.
Nevertheless, the commitment and dedication of the untiring Macbeth Sibaya and his teammates proved wrong those South Africans who doubt the capacity and readiness of the country's selection for the 2010 World Cup.
In their next outing against Fernando Torres's Spain, Joel Santana's men must lift their game and avoid a defeat, as this will greatly compromise their chances of qualifying for the next round.
South Africa 0, Iraq 0
Brazil 4, Egypt 3
South Africa v. New Zealand
Egypt v. Italy