South African football fans fast for World Cup success

By Piers Edwards
BBC News, Johannesburg


About a dozen South African football fans are fasting in the hope it will help their team at the World Cup.

It follows a call last week by the South African Football Supporters Association (Safsa) for fans to pray and fast in order to help the national team, Bafana Bafana.

"We believe that miracles can only happen if the whole country is united in prayer," Safsa's head told the BBC.

South Africa take on Mexico in the opening game on Friday.

Siyabulela Makunga, the executive director of Safsa, said he was also making other sacrifices in the belief that this will help his national team.

"I'm absconding [sic] from alcohol and sex and it's not a joke, as I normally drink a lot of whisky," the 30-year-old said.

"It's pretty difficult with my girlfriend, as we're not on the best terms at the moment, but I can't kiss her on the cheek as this is the commitment I'm making for the team."

He said the World Cup was "a platform for miracles".

"Some of us are Christians, Hindus or follow traditional religions but if we can all be enjoined in spirit, that spiritual strength will definitely make a difference."

Vuvuzela strength

Thirty-six-year-old Joy Chauke, who works in security at a supermarket in Johannesburg, is one of about a dozen fans who has been fasting.

She said even though she is finding it a challenge, she hopes to be doing it for the next five weeks.

image captionIt takes a lot of puff to blow a vuvuzela, a plastic horn used at football matches

"Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and everything went well," she says.

"I just want to see Bafana Bafana win and after that I will eat everything!"

But she said she was taking a break after a week-long fast to gather her strength.

"I need to have power to blow my vuvuzela on Friday. Then after the match, I will fast again."

After facing Mexico on Friday, South Africa play Uruguay in Pretoria on 16 June and then France in Bloemfontein six days later.

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