Editorial: Burkina Faso’s spirited performance against Ghana won over the hearts of South African fans

Goal.com writer Ernest Makhaya is in Johannesburg, anticipating the Afcon final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso on Sunday
Vuvuzelas were all over the streets of Gauteng, anticipating a “dream final” on the 10th of February 2013. The whole country is speaking the same language of football, and the drums were beaten louder in every stadium on the road to Soccer City, the National Stadium in Johannesburg.

Besides the sad Bafana result against Mali, I was impressed with the way our PSL players performed in this year’s tournament. That is not just the players from the Bafana camp, but also those from other national teams such as Zambia, Togo and Niger. This gave me an impression that our football has really improved.

During the semifinals I was looking at the scoring charts, and I saw Siyabonga Sangweni and Lehlohonolo Majoro who are both South Africans, Dove Wome of Togo and Zambia’s Collins Mbesuma. Mind you, all these players are playing in the Premier Soccer League and that should mean everything to our South African fans, who cheer and sing the names of these players week in and week out.

Watching Burkina Faso’s semifinal clash against Ghana, I think we neutrals will have a better dream final than a lot of us expected. Burkinabes showed determination throughout the game, and are deservedly into the final. This is history in the making. Burkina Faso reaching their first ever Africa Cup of Nations final, defeating the mighty Ghana in the process. Who would have predicted that?

Johannesburg fans are in for a mouth-watering West African clash on Sunday, and I am expecting the same atmosphere that we all experienced in the opening game of the tournament.

After Nigeria thumped Mali in the first semifinal, a lot of us believed that no team will stand in the Nigerians’ way, but that perception has changed after the second semifinal. Burkina Faso’s spirited performance seems to have won the hearts of South African fans here.