BBC BLOGS - Simon Austin
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

South Africa's white knight

Post categories:

Simon Austin | 10:32 UK time, Thursday, 6 August 2009

As the only white player in South Africa's starting line-up, Matthew Booth accepts he "sticks out like a sore thumb" every time they play.

This led some foreign observers to assume he was being booed by the predominantly black crowds at this summer's Confederations Cup, when in fact the complete opposite was the case.

The 6ft 6in central defender is a firm favourite with the fans of Bafana Bafana, who greet his every touch with loud cries of "Booooth!"

With the biggest season in South Africa's football history about to kick off, the 32-year-old is set to be the hosts' poster boy at next summer's World Cup, so expect to hear and see a lot more of him in the coming year.

Booth was South Africa's only white player during the Confederations CupIn a country where football is played and followed mainly by the black population, Booth makes for an unlikely hero.

His upbringing in the white middle-class village of Fish Hoek on the outskirts of Cape Town dictated that he shouldn't even play football, let alone become a professional.

"We only played rugby and cricket at my all-white boys' school and those sports were almost pushed down your throat," he tells me.

"To play football, I had to go to a local club after school. It had an open-door policy allowing blacks and whites to play together, which was probably against the law at that time.

"It meant that from the age of five I was playing alongside black and coloured kids, when my schoolmates would never have come into contact with them.

"I was lucky that my dad encouraged me to play football, because he had loved playing the game when he was a kid."

Within minutes of talking to Booth, you quickly realise what a fascinating character he is. Not only does he speak Russian, post a regular video diary from the South Africa camp on YouTube and have a wife who is a former super model, but he has forthright, controversial opinions.

It's a refreshing change from some of the anodyne utterances we are used to hearing from players in the English Premier League.

For example he strongly argues that sport is still divisive in South Africa, when it should be a unifying force.

"Football has been construed as a black sport here in South Africa and that means it hasn't got the money it deserves," he says.

"Rugby and cricket are seen as the white sports and they get the money and the sponsorship."Booth shakes hands with Kaka after the Confederations Cup semi-final between South Africa and Brazil

While these "white sports" are played on "manicured lawns", Booth says black schoolchildren play football on "dirt and scrubland".

Booth is urging the South African government to invest more in grassroots football and to stop school sports being played along racial lines.

He wants them to ensure that black children are able to play rugby and cricket, with their white counterparts being encouraged to try football.

So it's easy to see why the imposing centre-half has become such a hero for the supporters of both his club side, the Mamelodi Sundowns, and Bafana Bafana.

Despite his upbringing in a leafy middle-class area, the townships have become a big part of Booth's life.

His wife Sonia Bonneventia grew up in Soweto, the massive township on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

They met when Bonneventia, who finished second in the 2001 Miss South Africa contest, was babysitting for one of his team-mates and they now have two young sons together.

"Our backgrounds are like chalk and cheese," he admits. "Soweto is very different from my upbringing in the suburbs, but I absolutely love it there.

"We visit all the time because it's where my wife's family still live and I go there on nights out with my team-mates. The atmosphere and vibe is unique and I would advise any tourist to pay a visit."

Bonneventia gained a business and marketing degree after retiring as a model and Booth says: "She has the beauty AND the brains - I'm not quite sure what she sees in me!"

Booth gained a host of new admirers with his no-nonsense displays during the Confederations Cup, playing a key role in South Africa securing fourth place in the tournament.

He has been described as an old-fashioned centre-half, imperious in the air and tenacious in the tackle, and had hoped for an offer from an English Premier League side after the tournament.

After playing on loan for Wimbledon for half a season in 2001 - "not a happy time because the club was in turmoil over the move to Milton Keynes" - he had always dreamed of playing for one of the big teams in England.

Sadly, the anticipated approach never materialised and he is now focused on helping the Sundowns improve on their disappointing ninth-place finish last season.

Booth is also grateful for having had the chance to play for seven seasons in Russia, for FC Rostov and Krylya Sovetov, during an exotic career.

The Sundowns kick off their Premier League season against the Mpumalanga Black Aces at their home stadium in Atteridgeville near Pretoria on Saturday.

It promises to be an interesting season, not least because Booth's new coach is the brooding, charismatic Hristo Stoichkov.

What does he make of the former Barcelona and Bulgaria legend so far?

"He's a no-nonsense coach, which was badly needed for the discipline of the team," he says.

"But at the same time he comes across as a players' coach and so far has got on well with all the players. His will to win as a player definitely comes out in his management."

The Sundowns are often described as the Chelsea of South Africa, thanks to the backing they receive from their wealthy benefactor, the platinum magnate Patrice Motsepe.
Despite being the most successful side in South Africa over the last 20 years, their form has been poor in recent times.

And difficult as it might be, Booth is determined to concentrate on each game this season, rather than looking over the horizon toward next summer's World Cup.

"A week is a long time in football, so a year is massive," he says. "That means I won't get too far ahead of myself, because otherwise I won't be in the World Cup squad, let alone the team.

"Playing in a World Cup in your home country would be the pinnacle for most players and it gives me such motivation."

If he can achieve that aim, be sure to hear loud cries of "Boooth" above the wail of the vuvuzelas in South Africa next summer.

* For more up-to-the-minute chat, you can follow me on my Twitter feed

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 12:03pm on 06 Aug 2009, andrewtheboom wrote:

    Hopefully the World Cup will unite South Africans - black and white.

    As football is the number one game for the blacks, who make up a huge proportion of the South African population, the Bafana Bafana should be much more successful.

    Cricket and rugby show that South Africa can produce world-class sport teams, but that the country's most popular sport cannot attract the sponsorship levels that these relative minority sports can is a disgrace.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 12:12pm on 06 Aug 2009, beardedshrimper wrote:

    Sounds like a good bloke, there's a space at the heart of the Southend defence that he would fill very well

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 12:13pm on 06 Aug 2009, Madiba wrote:

    Good article.

    Hope the government takes note of his interview and act thereon to make SA a great footballing nation.

    Booth, leave Sundowns and come play for Ajax Cape Town instead...

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 12:14pm on 06 Aug 2009, Dooogs wrote:

    "above the whale of the vuvuzelas"

    Ahem. Any chance of a sub-editing job?

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 12:21pm on 06 Aug 2009, allanr133 wrote:

    While it's true that football is followed mainly by the black population today, this was not the case until recent years. I was born and grew up in South Africa as white English speaking middle class. I played football through school and afterwards at senior level in the 1970's and 1980's, but in those days it was a whites only league! However, we would play friendlies in the townships, which was illegal - we were often hounded by the race police and chased, but would always return another time to play against other teams. The understanding and friendships we developed were invaluable. I hope next year's World Cup will bring the nation closer together. Bafana Bafana!

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 12:24pm on 06 Aug 2009, Never going to leave my team wrote:

    Booth has somewhat clouded vision if he thinks socer is only 'construed' as a black sport in South Africa. It certainly is a black reserve and the number of blacks and lack of whites in the national team and the numbers watching the sport backs this up. Rugby and cricket on the other hand have a large number of blacks/coloureds playing the game at club and national levels. So, what's he on about? I'm afraid Booth is simply pandering to the black audience and it's a shame he is incapable of thinking for himself. He really should stop believing his own press.
    As a footnote, whilst on holiday in Jo'burg I attended my grand son's under 11 football match in Alberton during the period that the confederation cup matches were taking place. One parent was running up and down the touchline blowing one of these vuvuzelas, all game! A young child who was obviously demented by the racket asked her very kindly to stop. The ignorant cretin refused to. I for one hope that FIFA ban this assault on the senses during 2012 because I see problems in the crowd among those who support their teams as they are supposed to be supported, and not simply making a noise!

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 12:32pm on 06 Aug 2009, bullyboyblue wrote:

    Great article

    I have to say that Booth's comments on the racial segregation of football being a black sport in South Africa come as little shock. I have spoken to other guys from South Africa who say the same; many of them are planning to leave town while the world cup is on and rent out their houses to foreign fans. I guess there has to be a motivation to change that and it should come from hosting this tournament. But in a country that for so long lived under the cloud of apartide, it would be the sight of white South African faces supporting the Bafana Bafana that would be the revolutionary images of this World Cup.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 12:46pm on 06 Aug 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    A nicely written piece. Booth and Sonia Bonneventia come across as a very likable couple. Can't we be rid of the vuvuzelas? They were quite an irksome racket during the confederations, like a horde of mosquitoes whirring in one's ears without let.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 12:57pm on 06 Aug 2009, Dorzliverpool wrote:

    Its so good to see a white man from such a place that clearly doesnt have any prejudice against the black people around him! it jus shows the ignorances that blurs so many peoples mind not only in South africa but all over the world when it comes to race! But it would also be ignorant to think that other night blacks and whites are going to be best friends and get on in harmony just because of sport, the problems lie way deeper than sport and i dont think that history there will ever be an equal playing field in that country!

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 12:58pm on 06 Aug 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    Odd how there are no talks of introducing quotas to ensure a proper mix in the team.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 1:09pm on 06 Aug 2009, ahmedjeffersontyke wrote:

    Excellent and interesting article.
    With some real investment at grass roots level it must only be a matter of time before South Africa will be able to emerge as a major force on the world stage.
    Also, what is a vuvuzela?

    http://www.loserscomesecond.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 1:23pm on 06 Aug 2009, KeepitReal wrote:

    South Africa certainly has a lot to learn about racial harmony, surely the UK and USA serves as enlightened countries from who the poor blighted by apartheid South Africans can learn.

    Truly looking forward to Santa bringing my gifts this year

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 1:27pm on 06 Aug 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    6. At 12:24pm on 06 Aug 2009, the bard was a bear wrote:
    Booth has somewhat clouded vision if he thinks socer is only 'construed' as a black sport in South Africa. It certainly is a black reserve and the number of blacks and lack of whites in the national team and the numbers watching the sport backs this up. Rugby and cricket on the other hand have a large number of blacks/coloureds playing the game at club and national levels. So, what's he on about? I'm afraid Booth is simply pandering to the black audience and it's a shame he is incapable of thinking for himself. He really should stop believing his own press.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not sure what your point is...for example, the Test cricket team has really only had Makhaya Ntini over the last few years, there have been others like Amla and Prince but it's quite clearly dominated by whites. As is the rugby set-up.

    It's not a selection issue clearly- it's just rugby and cricket is producing more outstanding white players than outstanding players from other racial backgrounds and it would be nice to see that change. I think Booth has a point there, and he certainly has a point in regard to the football national team, where he's the only white player in the starting XI. I don't understand the motive for your annoyance with him in regard to 'pandering to the black audience'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 2:01pm on 06 Aug 2009, monaco4theworldcup wrote:

    12. At 1:23pm on 06 Aug 2009, KeepitReal wrote:
    South Africa certainly has a lot to learn about racial harmony, surely the UK and USA serves as enlightened countries from who the poor blighted by apartheid South Africans can learn.

    ----------------------------------------
    This is a joke right? The BNP, Ku Klux Klan, Stephen Lawrence etc etc.

    Every indicator shows whites in the UK and US get preferential treatment in jobs, heasthcare, education and so on.

    The US especially is behind South Africa in equality and harmony, and inflicted its own apartheid until the 1960s.

    Hopefully Obama's election is a sign of things finally moving in the right direction but it's too early to tell.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 2:27pm on 06 Aug 2009, Bill T wrote:

    I am not sure what has happend to all the good white South Africans. In the 50s when Charlton were a strong team, in the top division, they had many outstanding players from SA.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 2:30pm on 06 Aug 2009, Chris wrote:

    Booth is a top bloke! As a white guy living in Joburg and a guy who has been to most townships, I can fully agree when he says football hasn't got the same "big money" exposure that other sports have.

    There has been a drastic change in corporate attitude over the last couple years and the Federation has finally moved away from government TV rights to the big boys. So now the exposure is there, the sponsors are there... lets hope it progresses further. I believe it will!

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 2:30pm on 06 Aug 2009, ahmedjeffersontyke wrote:

    #14 The BNP are a minority in the UK and their beliefs and opinions are not held by the vast, vast majority of the UK population.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 2:42pm on 06 Aug 2009, extremeafrica wrote:

    . At 12:24pm on 06 Aug 2009, the bard was a bear wrote:
    Booth has somewhat clouded vision if he thinks socer is only 'construed' as a black sport in South Africa. It certainly is a black reserve and the number of blacks and lack of whites in the national team and the numbers watching the sport backs this up. Rugby and cricket on the other hand have a large number of blacks/coloureds playing the game at club and national levels. So, what's he on about? I'm afraid Booth is simply pandering to the black audience and it's a shame he is incapable of thinking for himself. He really should stop believing his own press.
    As a footnote, whilst on holiday in Jo'burg I attended my grand son's under 11 football match in Alberton during the period that the confederation cup matches were taking place. One parent was running up and down the touchline blowing one of these vuvuzelas, all game! A young child who was obviously demented by the racket asked her very kindly to stop. The ignorant cretin refused to. I for one hope that FIFA ban this assault on the senses during 2012 because I see problems in the crowd among those who support their teams as they are supposed to be supported, and not simply making a noise!


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Talk about a person who is angry that his opionion has no voice. Booth is correct in what he says. SA is successful in Rugby and Cricket, Football - not so much. Because of this, the big money goes to Cricket and Rugby. Sports like Athletics, Swimming, Hockey and tennis do not get nearly the same funding because of the limited success they have internationally. This is what I believe Booth was on about. With no exposure and funding, schools and provinces focus on the big 2 and let the rest slide.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 2:44pm on 06 Aug 2009, jermichael wrote:

    monaco4theworldcup
    You're just throwing out glib and trite names to support statements which are untrue.

    Someone desperate to see white racism at every turn.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 2:52pm on 06 Aug 2009, KeepitReal wrote:

    monaco4theworldcup

    I thought

    "Truly looking forward to Santa bringing my gifts this year"

    would have been a dead giveaway

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 2:55pm on 06 Aug 2009, NNeveling wrote:

    To "The Bard was a Bear"

    Your chat about Booth "believing his own press" and "pandering to the black audience" is totally unfair.

    He is simply telling it how he sees it, promoting his sport and trying to get more money and support for the game he loves.

    Booth is really someone who is breaking down boundaries and bringing people together.

    He should be praised for his enthusiasm and honesty.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 2:56pm on 06 Aug 2009, Spursguru-Dont break my Vaart my achy breaky Vaart wrote:

    South Africa certainly has a lot to learn about racial harmony, surely the UK and USA serves as enlightened countries from who the poor blighted by apartheid South Africans can learn.

    -----------

    I don't think the USA can really serve as an "enlightened country", either in terms of understanding race problems in there own back yard or those of other countries. Black people in America are hardly living as equals. A mixed race president doesn't mean all is well in the country, as highlighted by his far from majority vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 3:33pm on 06 Aug 2009, extremeafrica wrote:

    Come on people, racism exists in every country, evert religion and every race. It is hear to stay unfortunately. UK, USA, RSA, AUS, France, Iraq, Pakistan, India - all countries have race crimes commited daily due to the ignorant and angry. Sports is the only function/ spectacle that shows people the different race, religion and social background can come together for a single purpouse, and show the communities the bound formed between these people. The problem with the world is that every person, country or religion wants to be the most important, most followed and most feared. Booth is showing that he can forget his social upbringing, his countries shameful and raciel past, and the social norm - and lead a happy and successful past. And it shows his black team mates can also accept a white into their communities. It shows that in RSA, their is hope - something that I think is lacking in most 1st world countries....

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 4:35pm on 06 Aug 2009, karandg wrote:

    Went to the same school, played at the same football club, and as good as it sounds to say it was illegal to play football with other races, it wasn't, too much hype about the whole racial divide, there is plenty of money in SA football, unfortunately its in the wrong hands, how much have ABSA just put into football, and has anyone checked to see where it all goes.
    I spent twenty great years growing up in SA and it really irritates to hear the same noises coming out all the time.
    Also the word Hero is used far to much?

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 4:43pm on 06 Aug 2009, ironDirkDiggler wrote:

    Such total rubbish. Black people are running South Africa now- it is they who make the decision as to who gets what. Not whites. So stop peddling the old aged excuse of discrimination. Please.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 5:28pm on 06 Aug 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'South Africa certainly has a lot to learn about racial harmony, surely the UK and USA serves as enlightened countries from who the poor blighted by apartheid South Africans can learn.'

    Both the USA and the UK do not live in racial harmony and there are serious tensions in both countries, its just not reported as much. Yes of course there are large sections where races seem to mix easily, but there is tension bubbling under the surface, particularly in poorer parts of both countries.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 5:35pm on 06 Aug 2009, ironDirkDiggler wrote:

    Black preference permeates and percolates down through every aspect of South African society, from Affirmative Action aka "Black Economic Empowerment" to the quotas enforced on the South African National Rugby side. The very suggestion that some white-inspired vendetta is seeking to undermine the progress of "Black Soccer" is laughably incongruous with the economic and social reality in South Africa. I think it is offensive that the BBC has dared to air these views, and it would behove the South African FA more to concentrate on their own affairs {viz. the completion o the stadia for 2010, inter alia} rather than peddle this sort of nonsense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 5:54pm on 06 Aug 2009, bongi wrote:

    I live in South Frica and partially agree about racial segregation. I am a white and an abid football fan, as are all my friends. The biggest problem is that none of the top schools offer football as an orthadox sport. Also, the provincial unions are for football compared to other sports is a complete shambles, making it that much harder. All the other sports are friven by private school parents who keep them organised and up to speed. On the other hand however is that the local league is played on average feilds or slow paced rugby fields, and is scrappy and besides the soweto derby predominately unentertaining. However all the white students are at my school atleast are abid bafana bafana supporters and the support and beleif, especially after the confed cup, is most definintely there! come on bafana bafana!

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 7:41pm on 06 Aug 2009, footballer2009 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 7:48pm on 06 Aug 2009, wedontknowfootball wrote:

    lol, when i first saw him in the confederations cup i really thought he got booed for being white. then i realised his name is booth, and the crowd was playing with the sound of his name. ignorance in my part there.

    reminded me off boo weekley in the last ryder cup.

    http://wedontknowfootball.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 9:09pm on 06 Aug 2009, Faustino wrote:

    # 30 ... better not to boo at all rather than boo weakly ...

    My favourite Boo was the miniature giant space hamster in Baldur's Gate, carried by Minsk who later played for Newcastle as Ketsbaia (well, more likely Kets was a lookalike).

    SA is potentially very dynamic, I hope the World Cup gives them a kick-along, although restoring and expanding the electricity infrastructure would have helped the economy more. SA posters, what's the story re potential floodlight blackouts?

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 10:00pm on 06 Aug 2009, noelcanter wrote:

    Nice one Mr Booth

    An honest view from an honest South African.I grew up not far from you in Heathfield.

    Noel Southgate

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 10:12pm on 06 Aug 2009, AntonThePan wrote:

    A very enjoyable, well-written article.


    Thanks.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 10:34pm on 06 Aug 2009, mightymuave2 wrote:

    Spursguru - I'd like to know what on earth you mean by: 'A mixed race president doesn't mean all is well in the country, as highlighted by his far from majority vote'. It sounds like you're suggesting that 100% of Americans should have voted for Obama because he's black/mixed race! How undemocratic is that?

    Booth sounds like a great guy, and South Africa is a fantastic country with sporting talent everywhere, if it can sort out its racial difficulties it will be a real sporting power.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 11:28pm on 06 Aug 2009, JackWolfman wrote:

    I thought Booth was terrific. As solid as anyone I have seen in recent years. Despite the fact that he is getting on in years a little, he could do wonders at Manchester United. Fergie, who seems content not to spend too much money this year, has a depleted side. And in addition to the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez, he has some major injury problems. Booth could fit the bill for the 2009/2010 season. It wouldn't cost that much to recruit him, and what a world stage for Boooooth ahead of the World Cup!

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 08:28am on 07 Aug 2009, tefomanoto wrote:

    With all due respect, Sundowns success over the last 20 years is minute, plain incomparable to that of Kaizer Chiefs FC, they are the Manchester United of South African football. No Contest whatsoever... Do your homework dude..

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 08:31am on 07 Aug 2009, SugarDunkerton wrote:

    Good article...

    Can you fully trust a man that looks like a Bond villain though??.... maybe this is part of his plan.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 10:50am on 07 Aug 2009, TegsShrimpers wrote:

    I must say I strongly agree with beardedshrimper

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 1:33pm on 07 Aug 2009, Badgerboy84 wrote:

    WELL DONE BOOOOOOTH, firstly for speaking out about an important issue that needs to be dealt with in SA. He doesn’t need to stick his neck out at all. He is also 100% correct! Secondly for playing so well in the tournament. I’m surprised a Prem side did not make him an offer..come on Spurs!??
    In an Ideal world all sport would be available to all. This is obviously not possible in SA. So a fair way to provide sport would be to divide funds, facilities, coaching etc accordingly with the % of people playing a particular sport. If 90% percent of the population wants to play Rugby or Tidlly Winks then they should be provided for with 90% of the funding. Fortunately the majority of Sports People in SA play soccer, the global game which is a fact despite the fact that the wealthier schools such as Fish Hoek (the school that Booth went to) force their pupils to play rugby and cricket and provide nothing for soccer. If Soccer had a fraction of the provision that it deserves in SA with the amount of talented and passionate footballers then the National Side would be top side in world football.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 3:17pm on 07 Aug 2009, Coach88 wrote:

    Good article...

    If the Football team becomes half as good as the Rugby and the Cricket teams, England's prima-donnas could be given a rude awakening.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 6:58pm on 07 Aug 2009, kingmuzzi89 wrote:

    Yo. Im a 20 year old male from Johannesburg. So im aware but not burdened by South Africas racial past. I went to a mixed school with blacks and whites, and that is currently one of the top 10 government schools academically in Gauteng. I can confirm that while we had an extensive rugby and cricket programe, we didnt even have a soccer team. At schools where rugby and cricket are offered, there is full sized, manicured fields. In schools that offer soccer as the main sport (mostly in soweto etc.) they play on cabbage fields aka dirt patches. that is a fact. there are many famous schools in SA that produce top class cricketers and rugby players. Not so with soccer players.

    The reason y many non-blacks dont attend local soccer games is because of a lack of interest. Ask most non blacks whos their favourite team, they would say man utd / liverpool and not kaizer chiefs.
    Cricket and especially rugby are considered "white-dominated" sports in SA.

    I hope that 2010 can bring my nation closer to unity just like the 1995 rugby world cup did.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 7:02pm on 07 Aug 2009, kingmuzzi89 wrote:

    and as for all those who complain about the vuvuzela (our local plastic trumpets that we blow at games), tough luck. Its here to stay.... and guess what we cant hear our vuvuzelas over all the complaints. lol. take care.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 9:04pm on 07 Aug 2009, U14095920 wrote:

    Is anyone else sick and tired of cynical people who say things like "pandering to a black audience"? Booth is not "pandering", he is stating the facts! Apparently the only authentic and genuine opinions are those of the racists and right wingers...the rest of us are just pandering! To the blogger who said that there wasn't much hype about the racial divide - yes, I guess it wasn't that big of a deal if you were a WHITE South African. Please take your head out of the sand.

    One white South African in the SA football team is way more representative of the SA population than three or four black players in the rugby and cricket sides. The Western Province alone has more registered football players than registered rugby players in the whole of SA, so clearly football is our national sport and should be recognised as such.

    Bafana, you did us proud in the Confed Cup and you will do us proud in 2010!

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 10:35am on 08 Aug 2009, Badgerboy84 wrote:

    very well put SouthStandYid!

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 1:39pm on 08 Aug 2009, Imbwayablair wrote:

    14. At 2:01pm on 06 Aug 2009, monaco4theworldcup wrote:

    12. At 1:23pm on 06 Aug 2009, KeepitReal wrote:
    South Africa certainly has a lot to learn about racial harmony, surely the UK and USA serves as enlightened countries from who the poor blighted by apartheid South Africans can learn.

    ----------------------------------------
    This is a joke right? The BNP, Ku Klux Klan, Stephen Lawrence etc etc.

    Every indicator shows whites in the UK and US get preferential treatment in jobs, heasthcare, education and so on.

    The US especially is behind South Africa in equality and harmony, and inflicted its own apartheid until the 1960s.

    Hopefully Obama's election is a sign of things finally moving in the right direction but it's too early to tell.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    There is more to race issues than statistical measures. I've had exposure to the USA, UK and SA and whites in those environments and without a doubt SA whites look and treat black people very much like second class citizens. South Africa comparatively is a far more racist society compared to the UK and the USA

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 3:06pm on 08 Aug 2009, Mookwop wrote:

    I would like to advise people who get their views from a subjective source (such as this one), that South Africa is not even close to the racism that is prevalent in the UK and the USA. I have spent extended periods in both countries as a native South African, and the only difference between our old apartheid government and those of the above is that ours gave it a name.

    Booth is correct though, those in power hold the strings that control the funds. What is also true is that the majority of people in this country dont care what colour your skin is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 10:45am on 03 Sep 2009, mickeyweller wrote:

    Ref: No6 gargoyle or mogga or whatever.

    Hey Mat, this chap has a huge experience in one trip to watch U11's play football on holiday, it must have been an incredible day to give him as much experience as your 15yr proffesional career did, i bet he hasnt even stepped foot in Soweto. I wasnt a pro, but i did have good facilities in the club i played for, but 5km up the road Site 5 and Ocean view old telephone poles for goal posts, there is nothing like an idiot with a good vocabulary.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.