Netherlands vs. Brazil - The home field advantage

July 2, 2010

One of the proximate causes of the Soweto uprising was a decree that called for the black township kids to continue to be educated in Afrikaans, as opposed to English, the language they preferred. Afrikaans is a language extremely close to Dutch, spoken by Afrikaners, who descended from the Dutch colonists who settled in South Africa. Apartheid itself is an Afrikaans word, and the policy enjoyed greater support among Afrikaners compared to the rest of the population. Given all that, it is hard to imagine black South Africans, dressed in orange, screaming their heads off for the Dutch national team. And yet, they do. South Africans, both black and white, have been professing their love for the Dutch, and showing up at games draped in orange. There are indeed times when a negative narrative turns positive. To many South Africans, this racially integrated Dutch squad is a hopeful sign, a harbinger of better things to come to South Africa. Also, 6 million South Africans, about half of them black and half white, speak Afrikaans natively. They can identify with the team. They know how to pronounce Demy de Zeeuw. So, the Dutch, twice eliminated by Brazil in the 90s, have a whiff of a home-field advantage for Friday's game in Port Elizabeth. It ain't much, but they will take it, because they know it is now or never. This team is in its prime now, but its heart and soul, the Sneijder-Van Persie-Robben triangle, will be in its thirties for Brazil '14. And, since both their egos and their bodies are fashioned out of the finest porcelain, you know they will be at loggerheads or injured. I will not analyze this game, nor will I prognosticate. This is Worldview, after all. We are not about soccer minutiae, but world perspective. I will simply keep my fingers crossed, as should you, Friday at 9am. It's now or never, boys!
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