Surprise Moriri has recalled how he and his Bafana Bafana teammates woke up anxious the morning of the famous parade before their opening match of the 2010 World Cup against Mexico at FNB Stadium.
The South African men’s national team, coached then by Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, with Pitso Mosimane alongside him as his assistant, were held to a 1-1 draw by the North Americans as the first global showpiece on African soil finally kicked off.
“That morning I was filled with mixed emotions. The excitement was there because we realised the moment had arrived, and we were also anxious because we realised that the hopes of our country were upon us,” said Moriri, now a youth development coach at Mamelodi Sundowns, while Mosimane is the senior team head coach at Chloorkop.
“We really wanted to make the country proud. We knew as a team how important the first game was so that we can set the tone for the upcoming games, so a win was very important for us. Working with Carlos Alberto Parreira, who had won the World Cup before (with his native Brazil in 1994), was a very humbling experience and it gave us hope and courage to work even harder as the players because we knew that he has the experience for such big events. So everyone bought into his ideas.”
To this day, the World Cup staged here a decade ago is still referred to as a moment in history where the entire nation was united.
Moriri added that it was clear to them as players, too, even then.
“I think it was seeing South Africans, irrespective of colour, coming together to make sure that the World Cup becomes a success, especially after so much doubt prior to the World Cup. It was really refreshing to see that,” the former midfield maestro explained.