SA team need motivation

2008-09-29 00:00

IT is difficult not to approach Bafana Bafana games without an overwhelming sense of foreboding these days, as is the case for tonight’s almost anonymous friendly against 110th-ranked Malawi in Johannesburg.

Glancing over the Bafana squad sheet, it is hard to fathom the point of tonight’s game. Granted, a good percentage of the local-based squad are certainties to participate in or be fringe players in the Confederations Cup next year and World Cup in 2010.

But these players — Siphiwe Tshabalala, Teko Modise, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Itumeleng Khune, Bongani Khumalo et al — are a demotivated lot following the soul-destroying defeat against Nigeria, which saw South Africa fail to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup, and going four matches without a victory.

All have shown what they can do on the international stage, and would see the point of gaining valuable experience in a friendly against Italy, Ivory Coast or Germany.

But these senior players are sure to find it hard to motivate themselves at the dank and rusty Germiston Stadium the national team has been relegated to for tonight’s game.

Mbulelo Mabizela has reportedly not bothered to show up. To make matters worse, the SABC is again broadcasting the match delayed on TV, and one shudders to think what sort of crowd will turn out.

Is this not another recipe for the continued demotivation of the national team, particularly should the inevitable poor result be notched up against a Malawi side sure to be more interested in the proceedings?

In Mabizela’s case, his club have vowed that the defender is injured, though the Mamelodi Sundowns player’s past record of going awol will do him no favours in the public perception of his no-show.

Players who could gain from tonight’s match are Moroka Swallows’ energetic midfield hardman Lefa Tsutsulupa, Ajax Cape Town right-back Nazeer Allie, SuperSport United left-wing Daine Klate and Thanda Royal Zulu striker Bernard Parker.

One hopes their more regular Bafana team-mates show an interest too, because, meaningless friendly or not, a negative result will only increase the pressure on beleaguered coach Joel Santana.

Bafana squad: Goalkeepers: Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)

Defenders: Nazeer Allie (Ajax Cape Town), Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates), Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Morgan Gould (Supersport United), Robyn Johannes (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (Supersport United), Innocent Mdledle (Orlando Pirates), Mbulelo Mabizela (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Thulasizwe Mbuyane (Orlando Pirates), Daine Klate (Supersport United), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates), Lebogang Mothibanthwa (Orlando Pirates), Gert Schalkwyk (Kaizer Chiefs), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Lefa Tsutsulupa (Moroka Swallows)

Strikers: Bernard Parker (Thanda Royal Zulu), Eleazar Rodgers (Santos), Katlego Mashego (Supersport United).

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