Minister slams ‘tired’ Bafana

2014-06-02 00:00

PRETORIA — Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has bemoaned the unprofessionalism from Bafana Bafana players following the withdrawal of 11 players from their recent Australasian tour due to “tiredness” and “injuries”.

Mbalula believes South African players are still lacking the hunger and desire to represent their country with pride, despite their “professional” status.

Players to have withdrawn from coach Gordon Igesund’s team include, among others, captain Itumeleng Khune, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Tshepo Masilela, Teko Modise, Bernard Parker, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Kagiso Dikgacoi and Siyanda Xulu.

Igesund revealed before jetting off to Sydney last week that nine of those players were going to start the game against Australia.

Mbalula also stressed that the country needs to fight the attitude of taking the nation’s pride for granted at the expense of individual pride.

He also referenced his comments with the fact that European players take their careers seriously as they play far more matches at club level and for their respective national teams — without complaining about fatigue.

“We need to fight those attitudes,” said Mbalula.

“We have players in Europe playing club football, Champions League and still go and represent their countries.

“Some of those players are going to play at the Soccer World Cup in Brazil next month. They will rest for a short period of time.

“Our players are lacking the correct interpretation of the word professionalism despite being professional footballers. If you are a professional footballer, you are like a teacher, nurse, doctor or a soldier who goes to work.

“Football is your profession and there is no point where you can say, ‘I can’t play football, I need to rest’.

“You need to be always ready for the challenge if you are asked to perform.”

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