The home advantage myth suffocates football progress perennially. The recent ousting of Orlando Pirates from the Africa Champions League by the Angolan champions is the latest example. Home advantage is not an advantage. It must be made such.
result of thinking the home ground scores goals for the hosts. Both situations were repeats. The teams approach matches with an attitude of getting one result here and finishing it off there.
I coached teams that suffered the same fate. The amount of complacency in the technical department and the players can be annoying. Experience would have taught many clubs, but, year in and year out, the story is the same.
Football never responds to muti or juju anymore. Bafana turned on the style during the Confederations Cup and lulled in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. All African teams thought playing on the continent was a license to the Cup. Save for hosting, South Africa have a tall order to participate at any stage on merit.
The problems lie with the administrative and operational attitudes. The developmental structures are tertiary worries of the industry. The slide in the packing order is accelerated by easy targets from Zimbabwe. The northern neighbours are not even benefitting from dominating the ABSA Premier League.
The Zambians garnered enough experience to go on and win the AFCON. It would be mischief to say they must be thankful to South Africa, as some alluded. Chipolopolo had hearts of oak and the fighting spirit of a buffalo mother.
The South African league is not in the Top 10 leagues in Africa, thanks to the performance of Supersport in previous Africa Champions League and Orlando Pirates in 2012. The league lost the two spots to Zimbabwe who benefitted on the exploits of Dynamos in previous years. The Castle Premier League ranks higher than the ABSA Premiership.
The north and western African countries dominated these competitions at club levels and then their national teams bullied the south of the Sahara. To restore order, Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, Supersport United and Kaizer Chiefs must find it worthwhile to play to win these Cups. The domestic league and Cups must be lucrative enough.
Maybe after all the troubles of fixtures, travelling and competing outside the borders, whatever price tag is on the prize is not worth the sweat to the club bosses. That affects the clubs themselves, the nations and the continent.
If players get paid well in their clubs, good business practise would dictate wasting fewer resources on futile continental commitments and national duties. This is great for their families and national teams suffer. Africa will remain a laughing-stock, but tho cares about Africa!
As for the Buccaneers, they did not defend at all when playing at the Orlando Stadium. The game became a proper match in Angola, but their fate was already sealed. Is there a chance they will make the cut next year? Time will tell, but given their erratic domestic form, only die-hard fans will put their treasured private tools on the vice.
From this desk, we can only say, ‘God willing’.