PORT EDWARD, KwaZulu-Natal – Bafana Bafana star Mark Fish always played with great pride when representing South Africa, and the 49-year-old said on Wednesday that the Springboks have laid down a marker for all sporting codes in this country with their performances at the Rugby World Cup.
Fish, a star of Bafana Bafana’s 1996 African Cup of Nations triumph and speaking at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Wild Coast Pro-Am, said he had been inspired by the Springboks’ gripping 29-28 win over hosts France in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal last weekend.
“It was a phenomenal opening 25 minutes against France and then the Boks did what they needed to do to hold on. It’s been nearly 30 years since we first won the Rugby World Cup and I believe the Springboks are there to lift the trophy. To do that four times would just show the depth and ability and vision of South African rugby, and it’s something I really hope will flow over to all our other sporting codes.
“I do feel that because of the way the Springboks unite the nation, they really show that passion to play for South Africa. I would like that to flow over to all our national teams. The players need to realise what it means to play for their country,” Fish said.
While enjoying his time on the fairways as a guest of the Vodacom Origins of Golf this week, the legendary defender said he has been delighted by the recent displays of Bafana Bafana and says he sees signs of Springbok-like passion in the team.
Bafana Bafana most recently went to Côte d’Ivoire’s lair in Abidjan and drew 1-1. It was a match South Africa could easily have won against one of the most consistent powerhouses of African football.
“I think some of the Bafana players do realise what it means to play for your country and that team is doing something special at the moment. They have been unbeaten for a while now, against some really quality opposition,” Fish said.
“Hugo Broos clearly has the players believing in what they are trying to do. When they go to Afcon early next year, we must expect nothing less than a semi-final place, otherwise it will be disappointing.
“That Ivory Coast result away from home shows that we can have belief in Bafana, and they should do well in the World Cup qualifiers as well. They are building on something good,” Fish said.
Golf and giving back is also something Fish is passionate about and he was one of the early supporters of the Vodacom Origins of Golf series, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
“The Vodacom Origins of Golf series is close to my heart because I played in one of the first events and I can really see how it’s grown. Vodacom has done phenomenal work in golf development and we are fortunate to play with Sunshine Tour players and see all the effort and hard work that goes into being a pro. And we enjoy just watching them play. Plus we can learn one or two things from them. Whether we actually can use it or not is another thing.
“But it was another very enjoyable day out there in the Vodacom Origins of Golf, and the wind just reminded you of why it’s called the Wild Coast. My golf was up-and-down, but I was playing really well at the end.”