Safa better get tough on these soccer traitors

2014-05-25 15:00

We are back at the usual morass that is associated with Bafana Bafana player call-ups when the saying “I’ll die for the jersey/flag” was thrown out of the window this week.

Where on earth have you heard of players snubbing a national team? It can only be a bunch of Bafana losers, who cited all sorts of reasons – from fatigue to injuries to prior commitments – to not make the Australasia trip.

The withdrawal of 14 players from the Bafana tour was like spitting on all those poor professional players who often get overlooked by the selectors when they in fact deserve to be in the senior national team – they would die for the jersey.

For starters, coach Gordon Igesund should have smelt the coffee and looked at the bigger picture by selecting future prospects from the outset instead of now having to desperately fill positions left by the withdrawal en masse of some of his established players: Bernard Parker, Itumeleng Khune, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Matlaba.

Most of these withdrawals border on arrogance and there is also a hint of some players who are reluctant to play for a coach whose days on the job are ticking away by the hour.

Captain Khune could be making us read the between the lines. He has not played for Bafana since the infamous bonus scandal in the African Nations Championship in Cape Town in January.

Granted, Bafana are not going to the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil next month while Australia is using the game to prepare for the world spectacle. But the bigger picture for Bafana is the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September. There are no more games between now and then.

The SA Football Association (Safa) needs to take serious action against those who turn their back on the national cause, even if it means banning them.

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