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Bafana Bafana’s trip to Brazil is cancelled

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bafana Bafana are forced to watch the FIFA World Cup 2014 of Brazil only on televisions. Ethiopia’s win ensured that South Africa will not participate in next year’s World Cup. A trip to Brazil was denied.

Ethiopia surely deserved to be the side to advance to knock out stages. Do not get me wrong, allow me to elaborate more. After they (Ethiopians) fielded an ineligible player in the other world cup qualifying game, they had points deducted. The points deduction denied them a straight advance to next round before the final match. These also brought hopes to South Africans since the group was open again (decided on the wire).

Last Saturday the Ethiopians did a vital come back against Central African Republic. Although, they still need to play on knock out stage, I am congratulating them. They have gone all out, even during AFCON early this year.

Bafana also did well on Saturday, but was certainly not enough to be part of the play offs. The finger pointing also started. Pitso Mosimane, Benard Parker and Gordon Igesund were scapegoats. Does blaming other people send us to Brazil? We need to unite as a country. My opinion firing the coach would not help too; instead we will be taking few steps back.

Yes, Gordon Igesund failed in the AFCON early this year then now could not send Bafana to Brazil as well. Too often I hear that we are building for the future, then why would you want to change builders every now and then. “Rome was not built in one day.”

In football whether you are a player or manager this rule always applies: if you lose, you will get criticism, but if you win you will get compliments. I totally understand the criticism and frustration at the moment. How about we give the current builder more time?

At the moment we are involved in major tournaments when we are the ones hosting. Yet, we are very quickly to say “this manager must go”.

We failed to qualify for World Cup 2006. We then qualified by default on the 2010 World Cup since we were hosts. We spent a lot of money in paying foreign coach(s). Struggling even in qualifying for AFCON ’12, again the hosting default came handy this year. What needs to be done in this qualifying struggle?
Many questions will arise in each individual. Almost everyone has his or her opinion. Good thing we have less say on employing and sacking of national head coaches. Employers need to make decisions which are in the country’s interest. Harsh or not we are forced to bare them. Perhaps it is time stick to one builder (coach).

Germans believe Joachim Loew as much as I do in Gordon Igesund. Take in account that Loew started as an assistant manager at Germany before becoming the head coach. Ask yourself what did he win since at helm? For him and his squad qualifying is often easy but winning is the difficult part. We all know that qualifying and win nothing can see one packing yet Low still there.

There are things which are easy elsewhere but cannot be applied here in South Africa and I am aware of that. Again I am going back to Germany, they nationalise other players that are or were part of the national team. Can you do that here in South Africa?

I know I have been comparing an African national team with an European national team. Football is football. We tend to like how this European teams play. That is why I did my comparison. It might be irrelevant to you, but that is my view.

Perhaps it might be disrespectful of me to compare someone who was able to lead his country as a manager to finish third place in World Cup ‘10 and also finishing good in Euro ‘08 with someone who is still trying to find his feet to qualify. Keep in mind that Loew started as an assistant coach.

Winning a major trophy and finishing in good position are two different things. Loew is hired to win than qualifying, finishing third or second. Fabio Capello at England also left without a major trophy.

As South Africans, we expect imminent success in our national team builder(s), and then come in our serious problem which is being patient. I am not saying, Igesund must stay or go. If ever he is sacked, then let us give that new manager more time and believe in him. Success can be a slow process.

For once as a country we need to qualify without relying on other team’s results. Players need to get international call ups not just because they play for Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns, but it should be based on merit rather than club level standards. Let us forget about players that got egos or looking forward in playing in Champions League than representing their country.

Too much unrecognised talent in young players while us focusing on players with standards and own terms. Players must fight for their spot in the national, both local and European base. We can do our homework now while it is still early or forever be a laughing stock. Where are U23? Why certain players play in competitive games and others can only participate in friendly games?

By Ntokozo Skhosana

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