South Africa football is one of mixed fortunes both literally and figuratively. The game is moneyed and success is scarce. Who is to blame? Let us start pointing fingers as usual.
I would love to look at the league and then the national team. There is no secrecy about the funding of the ABSA Premier League as it is bankrolled by one of the biggest money houses in Africa. ABSA pumps a cool sum as they do for the Rugby. Springboks are a leap ahead, naturally, as you know that it is a sport enjoyed by the majority of the people who have R18 billion at ABSA.
You should remember how the African majority race complained about SA Rugby being not black enough. ABSA were warned not to raise a voice because they will have R18 billion out of the door by noon. The bank ‘shooshed’. That is politics and you know how dumb I am on the subject.
Calls from all foreign coaches who have come to South Africa as national team mentors have been that the league should depot all aliens and play the Kasi boy so as not to dilute style and give local jimbos more play time. That fell to deaf ears even to the Oliphants that you would expect to hear well low-frequency resonance given the big ear flaps.
The other issue especially articulated by Carlos Alberto Pereira was that of the reserve league. As noble as the suggestions are, they meet the standards of the association and the league, but club owners have a different agenda. If the locals do not give them the mileage they need to be on top, requesting for extra expenses running a reserve team is not business at all. Here, the game dies.
My personal opinion has always been a COSAFA or CECAFA Champions league. Surely, the PSL can influence ABSA to fund the project. This gets Southern African teams enough international practise for the Africa Champions league and even help moderate players get international game time.
Supersport also pour huge sums into the game and they would benefit with a wider viewership. I understand they have arrangements with the league for a few appearances here and there, which is commendable, but they would increase the interest with Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs playing in Kampala, Dar es salaam or Kinshasa regularly. That exposure for the teams and the Superdiski will be healthy for business.
That will render the issue of getting less foreigners in South Africa and even in cases where that is not the case, it will build healthier relationships amongst the nations and their players. I would actual advocate for the Bosnian rules to apply in the region.
The average national team of South Africa get a cold from the cough of the league, naturally. Bafana Bafana are struggling to be a noticeable African force, even at COSAFA level, pretending it is not so important sometimes. If the league be dead, they national team is rotten.
Further from the bad quality from the league players, coach Pitso Mosimane called closer cooperation from all stakeholders to ensure the national team is thoroughly prepared for the their games. There is risk of failing to qualify for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2014 Fifa World Cup starting in June this year. What am I talking about by saying risk? The team has not qualified for the current tournament, so it is actually more normal to fail to qualify.
Mosimane has failed to get Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows players recently for the 0-0 South Africa draw with Equatorial Guinea fielding five uncapped players in the starting line-up and handing three more rookies their maiden caps in the second half. That drama continued forcing the coach to call five more players to replace those called by their clubs.
At the earliest convenience, Pitso’s head will be on the block for a poor job done. Really? The love for success at national level and our contribution to that are way parallel. Mosimane was quoted saying, “We need to look at how serious we all are about preparing Bafana for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament that we are hosting, as well as the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers that start in June.” Knowing what we know, that is a long shot call and all I can do is wish him luck for both the cooperation he desires and keeping his job.
Bafana Bafana have never been good enough to be world beaters and gliding through luck in the earlier years gave the impression that the squad is world-class. The time to work for the results came and there were no answers.The collective effort demanded by the coach to ensure the team’s readiness for tournaments ahead will be a chorus he will sing until he enters the job market soon, probably because of his hoarse voice and SAFA will be seeking for more melodious vocal chords to sing the same tune.
What never ceases to amaze it the audacity to question the Bafana FIFA ranking. SAFA and the nation forget that like a bank account, it is what you put in the football that counts, and not the size of the egos. When it comes to the playing field, Bafana are just like ball boys.
The best defender of the country warms the bench in lower divisions in England. The best midfielders does the same at the Barclays Premier League. The nation’s number goalkeeper is going for trials with lower divisions in England soon. Compare that to the best player in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali and Ghana. For most of the time, Bafana are not even a top 10 African team, yet the resources and facilities are world-class.
In any case, the boys from Kasi should be taking their game from the streets and try to make a statement in big teams in the league. All youngsters are glued to TVs and PCs playing video games, but the nations needs them to carry the flag high. All that the parents can do, is take these gadgets away and let the boys take to the field and hopefully, one day, Bafana Bafana will be what we once thought they were.
As it is now, it is a big shame.