Discipline, patriotism and dedication

2015-01-05 11:44

In November, Bafana star May Mahlangu pulled out of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Sudan and Nigeria, citing fatigue.

The SA Football Association (Safa) was quick to deal with the IFK Göteborg man, banning him from representing the national team.

A patriot will always have the interests of the entire nation, rather than his own, at heart. Mahlangu clearly did not appreciate being called up to don the national soccer team’s jersey for the last two qualifiers.

The decision by Safa was a clear message to all players that a national call-up was more important than an individual’s own interest.

This week, we saw coach Shakes Mashaba reiterate the point. After much talk about why ace midfielder Thulani Serero was not included in the final 23-man squad that leaves for Gabon on Tuesday, City Press reveals today that the Ajax Amsterdam star failed to pitch for a national camp, despite being in the country at the time.

The player, who is doing well with the Dutch giants and would probably have been one of the first names on Mashaba’s team sheet, decided to stay away and allegedly boasted to peers that he was going to join the rest of the team on Friday, after the final Afcon squad had been announced.

His mistake was to assume that his place in the final squad was guaranteed.

Mashaba was having none of that. In a detailed statement, the national team coach was at pains to explain his selection philosophy.

In short, he picks players who display discipline, patriotism and dedication. Serero failed to show all three traits when he decided to stay away from camp and assumed he was bigger than the national team.

Bafana Bafana is a national asset. Every player should treat a call-up as a privilege.

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