It's been a rough month for South African sports fans.
We’ve had to deal with the Proteas getting knocked out of the World Cup without even making a splash.
Banyana Banyana had a baptism of fire at their first World Cup.
South African sides failed to make the Super Rugby semifinals, leaving Springbok fans worried about the national team’s chances in Japan later this year.
Then there is Bafana Bafana.
As predicted in my pre-Afcon column, Stuart Baxter’s manne were going to struggle after drawing Ivory Coast and Morocco in their group.
But we never expected them to fail to hit the target in those matches.
Bafana have looked toothless on attack in Egypt.
Somehow, however, they snuck into the last 16 of the tournament as the worst of the best third-placed teams.
And now were have to watch them in action against Mo Salah and his Egyptian hosts.
Predicting that Bafana will be sent home wrapped up in a sarcophagus like a mummy might be a bit too harsh.
After all this knockout football and anything can happen.
But if they continue to be as predictable as they have been throughout the tournament, don’t expect our boys to be causing any legendary upsets against the Pharaohs.
Baxter’s manne have been way too defensive in any case.
We have lacked width and pace down the left flank where Sfiso Hlanti struggled to get inside the opposition half.
Forced to play a narrower game, our inside forwards and midfielders have struggled to make things happen but for a free headed goal for Bongani Zungu in a 1-0 win over Namibia.
The ball movement in transition has been slow and counterattacks aren’t even in the game plan.
And poor Lebo Mothiba. The South African spearhead looks as dusty as a wanderer in the Sahara, his runs becoming more and more aimless as he looks for a pass from his teammates.
I guess, like him, we shouldn’t be fooled by mirages.
On good days, Bafana make chances and fail to score. But when they are not making those opportunities, we should accept that things are not going to go down well.
This month, we have seen the worst of South African sport.
It showed that we lack the quality, the will and the heart to produce results.
Both Bafana and the Proteas broke the spirits of their fans by failing even to be true to their identities.
The Proteas had no fire.
Our saving grace in the last few seasons had been our pace bowling attack.
But by the time they arrived in England, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi were broken and overweight, while Kagiso Rabada was bowled into the ground.
Faf du Plessis didn’t know what to do at the toss and his decision-making was as genius as AB de Villiers deciding to come out of retirement 24 hours before the World Cup squad announcement.
And let’s not get started on the calls made to take players to the tournament who had been looking for form, like Hashim Amla, David Miller and JP Duminy.
It’s time to bring in more talent and freshen up the personnel in all three formats.
Cricket South Africa bosses are already figuring out what to do next and believe that mentally toughening up the players would be a good start.
I think it’s a good starting point with people like the great De Villiers not even knowing whether he is coming or going.
Meanwhile, Baxter’s Bafana have been trying to play off the transition after touting themselves as one of the best passing sides on the continent.
I don’t know where they got that idea, with Bafana’s passing going astray even when playing out from the back under no pressure. You cannot impose your passing game on opponents without any precision or rhythm.
Then when playing off opponents’ mistakes, their positioning and off-the-ball movement has been horrific.
Almost nothing has been created by a squad packed with SA’s most celebrated forwards, Baxter could field an entire attack with PSL Players of the Season, with Tau, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Thulani Serero and Thembinkosi Lorch.
Of that quartet, only Tau has started each match.
Meanwhile, current POTS Lorch is the man with the least game time.
The chopping and changing ahead of the matches in Egypt doesn’t give me the impression that Baxter is playing horses for courses but rather that he has no idea what his best team is.
And that shows on the pitch with a team that is just clueless where it matters most, in front of goal.
So don’t hold your breath for a Bafana surprise.