Gauteng-based newspaper The Star is all for celebrating a successful first day of the tournament, although the draw between the South African national team and Iraq is a disappointment, made clear by the headline, “Bafana miss, but SA scores.”
The paper goes on to commend a fantastic opening ceremony, in which “hundreds of schoolchildren took part at Ellis Park yesterday”.
A shorter article concerning the opening match reads, “Zuma’s speech kicks off day of soccer passion,” referring to the South African president’s short address at Ellis Park to get the game underway following an invitation from FIFA boss Sepp Blatter to officially open the competition.
On the back page of The Star, the feeling is of a wasted chance for the South Africans. “Asian champs draw inspiration, but Santana’s men may yet rue missed opportunities after Confederations Cup opener,” the paper warns.
In The Citizen, the sentiment is similar to that of various local newspapers, as the front page headline reads, “Ke nako!” – a phrase that means ‘It’s time’ in one of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
“Now is the time, as SA welcomes the world’s top players,” it proclaims. At the top of the front page, a teaser leading to the sports section reads, “Bafana fail to deliver.”
On the back page of The Citizen, a picture cruelly depicting the moment when Bafana striker Bernard Parker mistakenly stopped Kagiso Dikgacoi’s header from crossing the line is followed by the words, “Iraq stifle Bafana, draw puts damper on hosts’ party.”
The Sowetan newspaper printed a similar picture on their sports page, with a powerful and cruel headline in capital letters stating, “You blew it! Bafana shoots blanks against Iraq.” The front page was less focused on the game, as a headline of “Welcome To Our World” covered most of the page.
The general sentiment within the articles was that Ellis Park had provided a fantastic start to the tournament, and although there was disappointment for Bafana's result, hope remains that the hosts can still qualify.
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com