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Nurture a child, build a nation – Dlangalala

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where have you seen parents, by virtue of being in the School Governing Body, direct the school curriculum and approve syllabus, decide on the duration of lessons, thus engaging in the operational processes of the education of their kids, hiring friends, relatives and those close to them to teach at the same school and have quality education at the end of the process?

The Bafana Bafana squad for the game against Senegal has been announced and a lot has already been said about that team, but I choose not to go the same route. I must say, it is very interesting and also nauseating to hear that the “important” people are worried about the state of our senior national team (Bafana Bafana). Where were they all along, to be precise, since 1992?

Interesting, because why now? Our senior national team, like all others, has proved over and over again that they were nowhere near the minimum standards in the continent, and by logic in the world football. Where were all these people, when we struggled in the early 90’s, getting hammered left right and center? Did we think that by winning the AFCON 96 (which we hosted), by bombing out of the first round at the FIFA World Cups in 1998 and 2002, by earning the right to host the same tournament in 2010, we were moving forward?

Interesting, also that the writing was always on the wall. Those who read the script and read it loud, were and are still seen and labeled as unpatriotic, as jealous, as too critical, skeptical, and are ignored. Given where we are today, who is unpatriotic?  Interesting that when people get most the votes in the elections from 1992 to date, they all of a sudden become knowledgeable on all matters including Technical, Youth Development, (and all other basic elements of Football Development and Growth), which has taken others years of study, trial and error, experience, proven successes, and are still learning and yet treated with contempt in our (local) game.

Where have you seen parents, by virtue of being in the Governing Body (School Committee for those of my age and above), direct the school curriculum and approve syllabus, decide on the duration of lessons, thus engaging in the operational processes of the education of their kids, hiring friends, relatives and those close to them to teach at the same school and have quality education at the end of the process? This is our story since readmission into the FIFA Family, and maybe even before that.  Ever heard of Dreaming of Success!

Interesting that while the football leadership at different levels has been changing faces and names, nothing has really changed.

Money, yes. Stadia, yes. Television, yes. Media and Publicity, maybe yes. Regrettably, at the Football Level where things needed to change and where it matters most, Nothing Has Changed. Even that is generous. The fact is we are worse off now than before we became FIFA members. Then, we could all mention the same names of players that were outstanding in each and every club team. Can the same happen now? In fact, do we have those players in the first place?

Nauseating that we do not seem realize that Bafana Bafana is the end-product and therefore, cannot be fixed. If you know that, you will never go wrong. If you look bad on the mirror, the bad thing you can do is to blame the mirror or even worse to try and fix it? It is not broken; you need to fix your face.

In our Football we either try to fix the mirror or (and often) move away from the mirror and think that our face is OK now that we cannot see it. But behold, all others still see our face. Ask all Nations that were at the AFCON tournaments since 1998, Clubs that have graced the FIFA Club Championship since its inception, etc.

Even Prof. Carlos Alberto Parreira, who did the unthinkable prior to the FIFA World Cup (by taking the team to 3 long camps-Brazil, Germany & SA), could not fix Bafana Bafana. Bafana Bafana cannot be fixed, not by Parreira, not by Joel Santana, not by Stuart Baxter, not by Ted Dumitru, not by Carlos Quiroz, not by Phillip Troussier and not by anyone.

Their problem is a factory fault. Regrettably, they cannot be taken back to the factory as they are people and have outgrown the development phase. With all those preparations (under Parreira), we still bombed out in the First Round playing at Home. Let’s hope and pray that someone else does the same, otherwise we will remain in the Guinness Book of Records (and FIFA) for a long time to come.

Nauseating because when the leaves of a tree start to turn brown and wither, you cannot do anything on them. That is Bafana Bafana. You need to fix the plant, the roots and the ground.

Nauseating because we do not have a good ground for success at all domestic levels, hence our consistent failure at International Level, both at Club and National Team level. We have failed on all fronts to compete with the best.

Nauseating that while no systematic youth development was implemented prior to 1992, there was a shared concept of play amongst most club teams (that could also explain the high attendance at the stadia then). The 1996 generation seems to have been the lucky ones and as it can be proved now, the last one too.

This generation enjoyed the game and had very little foreign influence in them hence even those who went abroad were successful because they brought with them something foreign, a kind of endangered skills on those Clubs and Leagues. They at least, had that natural flair, creativity and originality in their game make-up. Siyabonga Nomvethe is one of the very few left still flying the Flag. Ask any player/coach of the opposition.

Nauseating that those, who have the authority to change things (by virtue of their placements), are doing their best to remain blind to the realities facing us for almost two decades now. This they do in spite of all ammunition that they have been provided with over the years by local patriots, but have at different times that suite them, decided to invite people from elsewhere to tell them what they already know from locals. It would seem it sounds nice when it is said by outsiders, but nothing is done still. It could be that it is nice and gives a feeling of satisfaction to listen to foreign voices, and yet DO nothing afterwards.

It happened more than twice with Bafana Bafana that after qualification, a change in the team technical staff is effected. It was Déjà vu when we learnt that the same has happened with Banyana Banyana, after qualifying for the Olympics. Ever heard of changing things by keeping to the same! The same outcome, as before, can be expected.

Regrettably, even leaders at the highest level in our country find humour in the demise of our Bafana Bafana (Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address). It was very unfortunate that one of our national asserts (like all other national teams), Bafana Bafana, just like our national flag, national anthem, national symbols, could be laughed at that way. Wherever these national teams play, they carry these national symbols on behalf of all of us.

SAFA has always had all the solutions with them from many a concerned South African. Mentioning them here, would be a repetition to those who read. After all, the secret is wide open for those who want the solution. To those, who choose to ignore it, it has never existed. To their credit, they have mastered this skill.

Any house that will survive different seasons, is build on good ground, with a solid foundation, strong walls and a fitting roof. When there is a crack, an intelligent person will trace the cause and fix the root cause. But any other will paint over the crack and believe that it is fixed. You always have a choice.

By Zipho Dlangalala

Original story: http: http://goo.gl/gxFze
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