Wave Your Flag (a ‘How To’ guide for the soccer novice)

Wave Your Flag (a ‘How To’ guide for the soccer novice)

Do your friends tease you because of your woeful soccer knowledge? Are you unsure how to react during a game? Do you never look right when watching South Africa during this year’s World Cup? Well, Mission Succexy has the solution for you!

Mission Succexy has compiled a friendly tutorial for the novice soccer fan – Part Two in the ‘What the Waka is Going On?’ series, entitled ‘Wave Your Flag’. Last week we explained the basic rules of soccer, but this week we’re looking at essential rules for supporters.


Fans all mingle together, regardless of race, gender or whatever else. PHOTO: Samantha Steele
Fans all mingle together, regardless of race, gender or whatever else. PHOTO: Samantha Steele

One of the key aspects of the Soccer World Cup is the teams. Each team represents a country – I know this might be surprising and seem simplistic to the World Cup novice, but nonetheless, that’s the basis for the competition. Now, since each team represents a country, the best way to show support for a specific team is to show support for the nation the team represents.

To support Bafana Bafana then, means to support South Africa. Patriotism is very ‘in’ right now, finally, after many years, in SA. Below is a quick guide to pro-South African patriotism for the first timer.

  1. Support Bafana Bafana above all other teams. ‘All other teams’ includes England, Brazil, Italy and yes, even Spain. Regardless of how hot Torres is, if they’re playing against Bafana, you support Bafana (and besides have you checked out Tshabalala lately? Yummmy!)
  2. Roeline Daneel demonstrates an appropriate reaction if Bafana Bafana loses. DAMN YOU URUGUAY! PHOTO: Samantha Steele
    Roeline Daneel demonstrates an appropriate reaction if Bafana Bafana loses. DAMN YOU URUGUAY! PHOTO: Samantha Steele
  3. Do not hate the vuvuzela. It’s actually a very versatile piece of equipment! I’ll expand on this in the section below.
  4. Know the lyrics to several key songs. First,
    Me singing the National Anthem. With THREE flags. Suck it! PHOTO: Roeline Daneel
    Me singing the National Anthem. With THREE flags. Suck it! PHOTO: Roeline Daneel

    obviously, is the multi-lingual National Anthem. If you know all the lyrics you can say, quite honestly, “Yes, I speak some Xhosa”. Another key song is K’naan’s ‘Wave Your Flag’ (the chorus really isn’t that tricky), Shakira and Freshlyground’s ‘Waka Waka’ (just say ‘waka waka, eh eh’ every now and again and you’ll be just fine) and, obviously, HHP and JR’s ‘Show Dem’. “Make da circle beega, beega, BEEGA” goes the chorus, “We love it, that’s why we make the circle bigger!” The day before the World Cup in Cape Town everyone was drawn to Long street, as if magnetised. Cars were trapped behind the crowd, their lights shining on the mass of bodies moving to the center of the road. The vibe was electric; the streets crackled with it. The mish-mash of people were all holding hands, arms over each other, flags winking in the street lights while the crowd jumped up and down, up and down, chanting louder and louder: “Make da circle beega, beega, BEEGA!” In fact, ‘Show Dem’ has become a song of acceptance and togetherness. And the lyrics aren’t that complicated either.

  5. Wearing a makaraba is recommended, though not a necessity. This stylish helmet is both protective and patriotic.
  6. Huge sunglasses both say ‘Proudly South African’ and ‘No glare’. South Africans are anything if not well prepared.

    Makaraba PLUS sunglasses AND  a flag. We have a winner! PHOTO: Samantha Steele
    Makaraba PLUS sunglasses AND a flag. We have a winner! PHOTO: Samantha Steele
  7. Yellow is the patriot’s colour of choice. Out of the six beautiful colours in our flag, we chose the small band of bright, lurid yellow to represent our country. South Africa’s national sporting colours are green and gold, so it has something to do with yellow being gold’s ugly cousin. Also, yellow is the great equaliser, in that everyone looks equally ugly in it.
  8. Wear many, many South African flags. It’s simple maths, people. The more flags you wear, the more patriotic you are. Jeesh.
  9. Keep your cynical pessimism to yourself. South Africa’s pretty awesome, actually, and we don’t f***k up as much as people predict. Where else can you get droë wors, biltong, malva pudding and South Africans (aside from Australia)?
  10. Love Nelson Mandela. Basic requirement of patriotism, for any country. Even Americans a) know who Nelson Mandela is and b) say nice things about him on TV before referring to all of Africa as one country.
  11. Rather look happy, like Tessa Turala looks here. You can do this exact pose WHEN Bafana Bafana kicks some French toushie on Tuesday. "We must be one with the boys. The ancestors feel our support and bring it and goal scoring to the boys," Turala said. PHOTO: Samantha Steele


Annelie Mare + vuvuzela = LOUD NOISE! Photo: Samantha Steele
Annelie Mare + vuvuzela = LOUD NOISE! PHOTO: Samantha Steele

“It’s quite versatile,” described my friend Annelie matter-of-factly before using the yellow plastic tube (with her boyfriend) as a Funnel of Love. She’s right you know. Aside from making that delightful atonal verrrrrrrp-ing noise we are all familiar with (audible patriotism, I call it) you can use it as:

  • A funnel. Instead of blowing, you drink out of it. Very effective.

    Bafana fans with vuvuzela. PHOTO: Samantha Steele
  • Musical instrument. This I was shown by a very wise, very drunk patriot at the opening match. He belted out Darth Vader’s theme music when the opposing team came on the pitch.
  • Fake moustache. Makes for an easy, sneaky, get-away after you’ve insulted the opposing team’s fans.
  • Telescope. Lets you see if the opposing team’s fans are following you.


"While it's here, we've got to feel it!" says Tessa Turala, a Bafana Bafana fan. By the way, notice the word 'fan' in BaFANa? PHOTO: Samantha Steele

“90% of the world’s population is less intelligent than me,” I overheard a guy explain to his friends, a soccer game playing loudly on the big screen in the background, “and 90% of the world’s population likes soccer,” he raised an eyebrow with a clearly implied “Coincidence? I think not!” inaudibly attached to his sentence.

Well, if you aren’t this guy, the next section is for you.

You’re kitted out in your patriotic gear, you’ve realised the usefulness of the vuvuzela (and, dare I say it, have even blown one yourself) and have made your way to a bar with a large screen TV to watch a soccer game. The most complicated part lies ahead, I’m afraid. But lucky for you, my friend Blom and I have worked out an easy way to blend in with the soccer fans. Just follow our tips, and no one will be the wiser to your soccer ignorance!

Me and Blom, watching the game and working out our intricate system of rules. PHOTO: Roeline Daneel
Me and Blom, watching the game and working out our intricate system of rules. PHOTO: Roeline Daneel

One of the first things you might have noticed, if you were observant, is that sports fans of all shapes, colours and nationalities yell at the TV screen. It’s almost as if they believe, simple things, that their reactions matter. The quickest and easiest way to blend in (aside from the costume ideas I discussed above) is to also yell at the screen. It makes it easier if you pick one team to support – if you cheer when either team scores, you might get lynched by true fans. Here are some things you can safely shout at the screen, blending mercifully in with the crowd:

  • CONCENTRATE! Sound frustrated when shouting this. If you feel particularly inspired, point at the screen as well. You can yell this pretty much any time during the game, except someone dives to the ground in agony.
  • FOCUS! This means the same as ‘concentrate’, but lets you mix things up a little, thus making your ruse all the more successful.
  • KEEP IT TOGETHER! No one is quite sure what the ‘it’ in this sentence means, but it sure sounds good!
  • COME ON BOYS! A very motivational and inspiring phrase.
  • FOUL! My friend Blom sagely pointed out to me that you must not, under any circumstances, yell ‘GUNIEA FOWL!’ People just look at you strangely, thus ruining your cover. You should yell this when one of the players falls to the ground, grabbing a limb.
  • AWWWWWWW! This is generally a good filler noise when things aren’t going well.It helps if you point at the screen and look mad/sad.
  • MESSY! People aren’t referring to the Italian player Messi when they shout this (i.e. don’t correct them by saying ‘No, that’s Tshabalala, not Messi’) Rather they mean that the players are being messy by falling on the grass and getting stains all over their nice, clean uniforms.

Thanks to this short tutorial, blending in with the thousands of soccer supporters in South Africa will be easy. Enjoy the rest of the World Cup!

Feel it, it is here! PHOTO: Samantha Steele
Feel it, it is here! PHOTO: Samantha Steele

4 thoughts on “Wave Your Flag (a ‘How To’ guide for the soccer novice)

  1. very nice piece lady but as an avid football fan I could not help myself…..Messi is Argentinian not Italian (so your cover can remain intact).

    Another tip: when a player misses a goal scoring opportunity it is acceptable to yell ‘What a waste!’ with a contemptuous look. 😉

  2. Dammit … well I knew Messi wasn’t South African. Why didn’t I use the awesome power of the Google machine? Also if the team messes up, you can yell “Strategy!” – like, it was all part of their STRATEGY to miss the shot.

  3. I just want to clarify that the Funnel of Love merely refers to regular funneling of alcohol, nothing sexual (you did make it sounds a liiiittle bit sexual) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s