Profiles - World Cup Teams - South Africa
South Africa South Africa have made clear their aims for the World Cup finals - progress past the first round and into the knockout phase.

South Africa were disappointing in their only previous World Cup finals appearance, failing to get past the opening round at France '98 despite only one defeat in their three group matches.

But there can be little doubt South Africa's team have developed significantly.

Less than 10 years ago, the country was still isolated from international sport as a result of the apartheid policies enforced by the government.

South Africa had been a founder member of African football but were suspended by FIFA in 1964 and expelled 10 years later.

They had not played a World Cup game before 1992 and got a 4-0 thumping from Nigeria in their debut outing.


But within four years of being accepted back into the international fold, "Bafana Bafana" were continental champions, winning the African Nations Cup finals on home soil in early 1996.

They also qualified for the World Cup in France and rose to the top of the African rankings.

The country also made a strong bid to become the first African country to host the World Cup finals, but controversially lost the race for the 2006 finals to Germany.

Qualification for the 2002 finals was secured with some ease, the team going through the qualifiers with a 100 percent record until they were held to a 1-1 away draw in Burkina Faso in their last group game.

But South Africa did benefit greatly from the expulsion of Guinea from the qualifiers, after the west African country's government had interfered in the running of their football federation and were suspended by FIFA.

Injury to captain Lucas Radebe has also been a blow with the former Leeds United captain battling with knee ligament problems that have kept him out of action since March.

But there have been other players emerging on to the international stage, who will be key at the World Cup finals.

Shaun Bartlett, from London club Charlton Athletic, and Danish-based Sibusiso Zuma have emerged as the crucial ingredients in the teams plans. homepage