I AM typing this early on Wednesday morning, rather bewildered about Bafana Bafana here in my valley.
Told the nice people of Vrye Weekblad earlier they had to wait; an upset is by no means out of the question, but the magnitude of it caught me offside and not in the football sense of the word.
Early in both halves, it looked like Morocco's European stars were going to roast Mamelodi Sundo … apologies, South Africa … on a spit, but besides a lucky penalty the South African defence was on the ball.
Mothobi Mvala, unfortunate provider of the failed penalty kick, was the choice back player, but Bafana Bafana's calm interplay has been a revelation in the last three games.
I suspect that the manager, the Belgian Hugo Broos, thought after the lame opener against Mali: fuck it, I will now just pick as many Sundowners as I can; after all, it couldn't be worse.
Pirates' Evidence Makgopa scored a brilliant goal but the skilful pinball that Themba Zwane used to send him through with perfection was the product of many hours of practice at Chloorkop. In the same way Teboho Mokoena, comfortably the player of the match on Tuesday night, is always reliable and now also brilliant at the highest level between teammates of years.
Eight of the players who started the game play for Sundowns and a ninth, Percy Tau, played with them for most of his career.
Lord knows, we have been crying tears over our football team for so many years but the one bright light has always been the quality of Sundowns, one of Africa's top clubs for a long time and now, suddenly, with one or two plus ones, they will be playing in the quarterfinals against Cabo Verde tomorrow at 10pm.
Success means a semifinal against the winner of Nigeria and Angola and Naijja is the clear favourite, although this year's Afcon has delivered too many shocks to simply absorb or want to predict.
Nigeria (6), Mali (8) and Ivory Coast (9) are the only teams from Africa's top 10 playing in the quarterfinals this weekend, a staggering statistic from one of the most exciting football tournaments these blasé old eyes have observed this century.
These three look like the possible winners, but we also said that about Senegal and Morocco a week ago and their players have long since returned to their large selection of leading clubs in the cold north.
You have very little time to prepare international teams; that's why they usually have such simple tactics, but if three-quarters of your team train and play together weekly, smarter shortcuts may be possible.
And before I say Sundowns again, I must confess a bias towards this team that dates back to the early days of the PSL on our television because of this previously publicised love story between romantic rogues, without which local football would probably be forever at the mercy of Chiefs' Motaungs and Pirates' Khozas, who are considerably less romantic.
How refreshing to be able to see one or two games every day that play out quickly and ingeniously, I told a friend earlier on Tuesday evening; how incredible it is not to see players rolling around after the slightest contact and good referees who would take no notice.
I had hardly spoken when Burkina Faso (10th in Africa) realised Mali were getting the upper hand and suddenly started falling like bags of flour from a truck with contorted expressions, only to get up again in universally traditional fashion to run after the ball if the whistle didn't blow.
However, it was the exception that proved the rule.
I had virtually no hope of enjoying this tournament and lo and behold! There are still eight games left and so far it's simply great fun; I would tune in if I were you.
In the rest of the football world, there is buzz about the resignation of Jürgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool and more or less loved or at least respected everywhere. Except around Old Trafford, where their arch-enemies, Manchester United, have been struggling for years and are howling with relief.
United have been treading water since the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the best yet, but of course his purple face is not only indicative of hypertension or Scottish ancestors; the old man's love for horses and wine was also responsible for the justly hated Glazer family being able to buy United.
On credit, which they immediately put on United's account to burden a stinking rich club with their own huge debt. United are literally paying off the loan the Glazers used to buy the club.
For Liverpool supporters, Klopp was semi-messianic, the man who led them to a first Premier League title after years, under whom they could win every possible trophy after years of struggle.
Klopp's self-styled rock 'n' roll football inspired all neutrals. With a much smaller budget he kept the petrol clubs almost honest and you rarely wasted 90 minutes during his term if you tuned in to the red Merseysiders.
Soccer is the favourite sport for hipsters and started to become so in the last century — The Fast Show already started brutally mocking the phenomenon 30 years ago.
But most of today's hipsters are far better informed and new ideas like gegenpressing, as preached by Klopp, where the whole team defend aggressively as soon as they lose possession, make football hipsters ecstatic.
I plead guilty to this myself, before you begin to suspect me of false piety.
What will happen to Liverpool in Klopp's absence, nobody knows. But that there will be a bit of suffering around Anfield is pretty certain. The problem with football fairy tales is that Nobody Ever Lived Happily Ever After.
Part 2: Nor Will.
Southwest of England, the Barcelona legend Xavi has thrown in the towel in his attempt to revive this club.
The Catalans are flirting with bankruptcy to such an extent that you have to admit democratic management elections are no guarantee of thoughtful honesty, with both previous presidents out or on their way to prison.
Which is more than you can say about South African presidents.
And for anyone who is nostalgic about football's much-loved good old days, the Black Country derby between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion really presented us with a a good old-fashioned brawl between hooligans.
The match kicked off at 11.45am to avoid trouble but then a couple of West Bromwich pubs opened at 6.30am and the hoi polloi were pissed before breakfast.
So, long live the hipsters — at least they don't hit you. One of the most underrated bands ever, Half Man, Half Biscuit have long been poking fun at the phenomenon:
But for now it's Bafana Bafana time and here's Johnny and Sipho from back then — that was the anthem of the Mainstay Cup at the time and it's still rocking:
And from the days when Bafana Bafana success was no surprise, kwaito's brilliant TKZee with the very Manchester United forward coach and last serious South African striker; it's Friday and cheese is always good:
♦ VWB ♦
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