South Africa team spirit back to normal after loss

Jun 19, 2010 - 12:53 PM By PABLO GORONDI Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG(AP) -- South Africa's hopes of advancing at the World Cup are slim but midfielder Teko Modise says the team still has something to play for: honor.

Bafana Bafana's team spirit is "back to normal" despite its deflating 3-0 loss to Uruguay in Group A, Modise said Saturday. There was tension on the team bus after Wednesday's game, he said, but that the bad mood dissipated quickly.

"On the next day, we started to talk about France and about the confidence we need to have in our game," Modise said. "Now everybody's happy and back to his normal self."

Modise said that his team would play hard in Tuesday's match against the French.

"We need to do our best and hope a miracle happens on the other side," Modise said about the other Group A match, where a draw will put both Uruguay and Mexico into the next round. "For us it's about honor, we really want to do well against France.

"It's one of those games people will remember us by. We want to win the game but if it doesn't happen, at least we held our heads high."

Modise said he did not blame the vuvuzela-tooting Bafana Bafana fans for losing hope and leaving early in the game against Uruguay because the team was just as discouraged by the outcome.

"It was a disappointing result," Modise said. "We know how they felt because that's how we felt as well. Uruguay were on top and we didn't do anything right. We need to move on now and focus on France."

South Africa and France have one point each ahead of their match, while Uruguay and Mexico lead the group with four points. Both Latin American teams will go through to the next round if either match ends in a draw.

South Africa is one of the lowest-ranked teams in the tournament but France won the title in 1998 and made the finals in 2006, making Les Bleus' performance something of a shock to most people - though not Modise.

"I'm not surprised if France is doing badly, it's one of the toughest tournaments," Modise said. "You can have 23 good players but that doesn't guarantee results. They need to gel, they need to start playing like a team."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!