Pressing Issues: No room for mediocrity on the international stage

2015-01-26 16:00

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South Africans have a tendency to go overboard when doing things.

A good example of this is the numerous awards we have. There seems to be an award for almost everything, including mediocrity.

But I am sure that as a country we take the cake when it comes to the number of experts we have. We have a deluge of know-it-alls for almost everything.

This is why I find it puzzling that after years of bemoaning South African soccer’s lack of finishing ability, our development gurus have still not come up with a solution.

By now we should have a conveyor belt of top marksmen.

Shakes Mashaba has lamented his players’ lack of finishing skills in front of the goals.

How many times have we heard even PSL coaches such as Stuart Baxter say, “We created so many chances, but could not convert them”?

I can predict now that one ardent soccer reader from Helen Zillewood (Cape Town) will point out that Bafana Bafana needs players from the Cape Flats to solve this problem.

His argument will be that the likes of Benni McCarthy and Shaun Bartlett still remain the best strikers Bafana ever had.

My counter-argument?

If the area was so good at producing strikers, why don’t we have PSL clubs scouring the Cape Flats looking for these gems? Why is the top goal scorer award dominated by foreign players?

As things stand at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Bafana find themselves in an unenviable position where they might be knocked out of the competition on Tuesday when they face Ghana.

And it is all because of their lack of fire power in front of the goals.

The South African lads should have easily banged in three goals in the first half of their opening encounter against ­Algeria.

Even after a goalless first stanza, they should have gone 2-0 up when they were awarded a penalty after Thuso Phala had put them 1-0 up.

But Tokelo Rantie embarrassingly hit the ball against the crossbar and so that scoring chance flew out of the window.

What followed is now history.

Whether Bafana will return with their tails between their legs after Tuesday’s match or proceed to the next round, the pressing issue that South African football needs to address is goal scoring.

There is no way our national teams will do well in international competitions if our players can’t get the damn ball between the two sticks and the crossbar!

So, all the “experts” in our country must stop talking and assist the nation by producing players who at least know where the goalposts are.

The SA Football Association seems to have overcome the hurdle of our national teams failing to qualify for international events.

But the next challenge is to see them succeed in these events.

Banyana Banyana easily cruised into the African Women’s Championship in Namibia last year. But they failed to make it to the Fifa Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Canada later this year.

Bafana is on the verge of failure in Equatorial Guinea.

We just hope that the two junior national teams, SA Under-20 and Under-17, make it past their respective continental tournaments and onto the global events.

But – and this is a big BUT – unless they can score goals, we will keep on saying “but the boys played well”.

This is beginning to sound like a broken record.

Something’s gotta give!

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