Nelson Mandela said “sport has the power to inspire… it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does”.
Every day, South Africans are greeted with horror crime stories, wave after wave of fresh corruption claims involving high-profile names and a limping economy. In short, a nation struggling to make ends meet needs some good news … some inspiration.
Hopefully for sport fans, their sports heroes will do the country proud across the world this weekend, with plenty of representatives on the international stage.
First up, the South African women’s cricket team were up against the powerful England at the T20 Women’s World Cup in the Caribbean in the early hours of the morning.
After a win and a loss they need a positive result, but it would not have been easy as England are a formidable outfit.
Hot on their heels, also with bat and ball, but on the other side of the world, Australia and the Proteas meet in a one-off T20 international on the Gold Coast.
Faf du Plessis’ men will be looking to end their short tour with a win after already walking off as 2-1 victors in the one-day international series.
South Africans love nothing more than putting one over the Aussies. To do it three times in four matches in their own backyard would really be special as they fine-tune their limited overs skills ahead of next year’s World Cup in the United Kingdom – albeit in the shorter format of the game.
Next up, back at home, Bafana Bafana are in desperate need of a solid showing against Nigeria at FNB Stadium.
The two nations meet in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, with second-placed South Africa just one point behind top-of-the-log Super Eagles in group E with two matches remaining.
Libya are expected to take care of Seychelles this weekend, so they should gain three points, leaving plenty to play for in the final qualifying match. Only the top two teams in each group advance to Cameroon 2019.
Tonight, the Springboks are searching for their second win on their end-of-year tour when they face Scotland at Murrayfield.
Having narrowly lost to England and just managing to squeeze past France after the siren last weekend, South Africa needs a solid performance to keep their tour on track.
Scotland, however, are on a roll at home in Edinburgh, losing just once in their past nine matches. The Boks, though, have a decent record against Scotland, having beaten them 21 times in 26 Tests.
In London, Kevin Anderson made history by becoming the first African to reach the semifinals of the ATP Tour Finals. His only blemish this week was a loss to former world No 1 Roger Federer after triumphs against Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem. Can he go all the way?
Banyana Banyana open their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign when they face Nigeria in Accra, Ghana tomorrow afternoon. South Africa are in a tough group with Zambia and Equatorial Guinea, so a good start is crucial.