Soccer, cricket and rugby, South Africa’s most popular sports, according to most polls, will be involved in continental and world championships.
Bafana Bafana will be first up as they try to make a mark at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January.
The Proteas will be next on stage, in February and March in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, in the World Cup, and the muddied oafs of rugby, if only because of where the tournament is being staged, will have their turn in September and October in England.
So, it is time to gaze into the crystal ball and send out some hopes and wishes to the many whose deeds will be recorded on these pages during 2015.
The Proteas – Hope it’s not an omen that the tournament starts on February 14, Valentine’s Day. Please don’t break our hearts again boys at the ICC World Cup.
Bafana Bafana – Do well at Afcon and good luck in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying draw that will take place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg, on July 25 2015.
The Springboks – Here’s hoping that all those injuries clear up, that we’re able to pick our best team and that you discover an attacking dimension that makes the world sit up … and that you return from London in the first week of November with a golden pitcher called the Webb Ellis Cup in your luggage.
Chad le Clos – A Christmas card with a big question mark on the front and a note inside saying we also don’t know what you have to do to become South Africa’s Sports Star of the Year. Ditto your coach Graham Hill.
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – That they finally stop mouthing off and the megafight between them is sealed, then the Christmas spirit washes over them and they donate their purses to charity.
Luis Suárez – A top-of-the-range gumshield from Nike, Barcelona’s sponsors – the kind they supply to rugby players.
Charl Schwartzel – A Christmas revelation in which he rediscovers the ability to smile; a smile that says: “Hey, I play golf for a living, I stay in all the best places, I’m as rich as a pixie and I should be having the time of my life!”
Heyneke Meyer – A new script for post-match interviews, plus a copy of the late Izak van Heerden’s seminal little book on attacking rugby, Target Try-Line. In fact, a few copies – for each member of the coaching staff and some of the boys too.
Safa– One of our wishes came true! Last year we hoped they would find “a visionary who finally starts building the national team from the bottom up with a strong youth programme”. All we can say is take a bow Bra Shakes Mashaba.
Graeme Joffe versus Sascoc – That they have their day in court to sort out the Olympic body’s massive defamation claim. If just a few of the allegations aimed at Sascoc by Joffe are true, it could cause a massive upheaval in SA sport; not to mention leaving some egg on the faces of some officials and members of the media.
Steve – In South Africa, the name has become synonymous with ineptitude – not so in New Zealand. They had a big gift for their Steve, surname Hansen, putting the coach of the All Blacks in charge until 2017.
Simon Magakwe – We celebrated in 2014 when he became the first South African to dip under 10 seconds for the 100m. A medal in a major meet surely confirms him as the country’s greatest sprinter.
Ray Jennings– What do you do after coaching the SA Under-19s to the Junior World Cup? If you’re Ray Jennings, you get back on the job market, thanks to Cricket SA’s bizarre workings. Jennings may wield a big stick, but he’s an outstanding coach. Here’s hoping someone snaps him up.
Ram Slam – We love the lights, dancing girls and T20 action. But Ram Slam needs to lighten up. Denying youngsters the opportunity of the R1 million kitty for taking catches is just plain mean.
Frans Steyn – A large dose of common sense and generosity would go far in getting SA’s prolific Bok back into the mix. He and SA Rugby need to sort out their nonsense. There’s a World Cup to be won.
Piere Strydom – Riding a record 5 000 winners would ordinarily crack a mention at the highest level, yet Strydom’s wonderful feat went largely unrecognised beyond racing. A copy of Computaform and a highlights DVD to Minister Fikile Mbalula’s office.
The Nedbank Challenge – Is it not time that it became a proper, full-field World Golf Championship event to add some verity to the Africa’s Major slogan? Surely the fact that it was won by the player ranked 83rd in the world at the time should say something? Oh yes, and find a date that does not clash with Tiger’s Hero World Challenge.
Oscar Pistorius – We had a card in mind, but unfortunately he’s been struck off the list.
The Golden Lions – To fly really high and be plugged in and connected in the Super Rugby competition with their new sponsors, Emirates Airlines and Huawei.