PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Sabelo Mashego
 
Comments: 2
Article views: 235
 
 
 

Bafana Bafana's group stage phobia

24 January 2014, 15:13

"What I saw there was not a problem of coaching, it was a bunch of losers, who don't have ANY respect for this country and don't have ANY respect for anybody."

Of course, these were the opinion-dividing words of Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula amid the elimination of our  national football senior team, Bafana Bafana, in the group stages of yet another major tournament.

Indeed, the scathing attack followed Bafana's dumping out of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) by the Super Eagles of Nigeria on home soil.

You would've been forgiven to think that the minister had already said more than a mouthful after that statement or perhaps, had one of those blood rush-to-the-head moments when anger overwhelms your judgement only to realise seconds after the sin had been committed that you were out of it.

But there was more to come.

"First and foremost, I want to concede that we, indeed, have a crisis of monumental proportions and this tournament was just one journey that proved we don't have a crisis of talent, we've got a crisis of putting everything together.

"The people of South Africa wake up and get this mediocrity. I felt like just standing up and walking out."

Mbalula then briefly turned his attention to the Nigerian camp, who he said were in disbelief to see Bafana failing to trouble them anywhere on the pitch.

"Two useless goals, I mean, Nigeria were shocked.

"I saw their coach starting to stand up, he couldn't believe.

"They thought they were going to meet the lions, whose stadium was filled to capacity, to come and fight for their own country, but what did they come to meet?

"Just a bunch of unbearable, useless individuals."

Were the minister's words justified?

Let's exclude CHAN for moment. This was not Bafana's  first disappointing attempt to make it past the group stages of a tournament. The pattern, which I've elected to dub 'Bafana's group stage phobia', could be traced as far back as the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France where they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by the hosts before drawing their last two games against Denmark and Saudi Arabia, respectively. Apart from the French, who were aided by the comfort of playing in front of their home supporters and lead by a one Zinedine Zidane, surely Bafana had enough to challenge Denmark and secure the victory against Saudi Arabia?

Four years on in the 2002 edition of FIFA's World Cup, a familiar scenario unfolded where our national team gave themselves a mountain to climb by having to avoid defeat against group favourites, Spain, in their last group stage match. Bafana subsequently succumbed to a heartbreaking 3-2 loss after a promising start which included a 2-all draw with Paraguay and a 1-0 victory against Slovenia, courtesy of Siyabonga Nomvethe. In the end, Jomo Sono's men had flattered to deceive, much to the disappointment of their fans.

After failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Bafana were consequently involved in the 2006 African Cup of Nations where they did far worse than failing to make it to the second round. They finished last in their group and failed to score a single goal in the tournament. Different results, same outcome in the 2008 African Cup of Nations: South Africa finished last albeit in a group that comprised of Tunisia (who won the group), Angola and Senegal.

Moving on  to the Confederations Cup, a tournament used as a curtain-raiser for the World Cup and held during the year which precedes the global showpiece.The 2009 edition in particular, which was of course hosted in the country as the prelude for the 2010 World Cup, serves as a bit of an exception because Pitso Mosimane's men did manage to get out of the group stages as progressors this time. Bafana went on to finish fourth in the tournament after losing the third place final to European champion, Spain. Progress was made in that sense but the results could have been better. The tournament was organised in South Africa and nothing less than second round qualification was expected anyway, which is exactly why the first round exit in the 2010 jamboree in particular, is the most disappointing out of the bunch.

 Everything was in place for Carlos Alberto Parreira's men to finish in the top two of their group which included Luis Suarez's Uruguay, a France team in disarray and a promising Mexican side. Bafana had played enough friendly games in the months building-up to the World Cup to make up a whole season. They had full support from the country, every South African was in unison to support captain Aaron Mokoena and his teammates. They had a packed Soccer City Stadium with 90 000+ fans. They had strong team chemistry and last but certainly not least, they had gained experience from all the previous heartaches experienced from prematurely bowing out of previous tournaments. This was the perfect stage to finally take full responsibility of their own fate and showing their supporters, and more importantly themselves, that they were worthy hosts of the biggest sporting showpiece on the planet.

In the tenth minute of the second half of the opening match against Mexico, Bafana winger Siphiwe Tshabalala obliged with a thunderous left-foot strike which set the country abuzz. Bafana were in the ascendency and if there were non-Bafana believers before kick-off, Tshabalala's strike and the performance which followed thereafter provided much-needed reason to believe in the team. Bafana held on for the next 24 minutes before Rafael Marquez, inevitably, levelled matters to hand the host nation a bitter-sweet draw. The pressure of having to win their next game against Uruguay had been mounting during the build-up and it told when the day had come. The game, which included an unfortunate turn of events which included goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune given his marching orders, was taken away from Bafana from a clinical Uruguay performance, final score: 3-0.

It was down to the last game against the French, who were without Zidane this time around but still a formidable unit nevertheless. Bafana had to achieve the seemingly impossible thanks to the damaging defeat to Uruguay: beat France by more than two clear goals and prevent them from scoring while hoping that Uruguay defeat Mexico handsomely, to make their path to qualification that much easier. After a promising start to the tournament, as per usual with Bafana, they and their fans had found themselves in a very familiar situation going into the last match of the group. 

 Everyone knows what transpired after the last game. The result?

Mokoena and his team had created unfortunate history by becoming the first host nation in World Cup history to crash out in the first round. Their fans, whom some used as consolation, were left with Tshabalala's goal's nomination as one of the tournament's best and despite getting the job half done, beating the most high-profile team in the group, France. They fittingly scored the opening goal of the tournament and won a game at least, but the bigger picture of second-round qualification was once again not realised. Perhaps this is the sort of mediocrity the minister was referring to?

 I regress.

 The comments made by Mbalula following the most recent exit from the CHAN tournament can be possibly seen as a reflection of year's of repeated disappointment for the minister and the rest of Bafana's die-hard fans. The repeated, desperate third place finishes courtesy of the goal difference stat in Bafana's groups suggest that Bafana can compete and that it's just a matter of getting the job done.

The national team has had its good times of course, like finishing third in the year 2000 version of the African Cup of Nations, reaching the final of the 1998 version, and winning it in 1996, four years after Bafana's first ever match.

 However, the good times have come few and far between and unfortunately, the bad times outweigh the good.

 All of Shakes Mashaba, Phillipe Troussier, Trott Moloto, Carlos Queiroz, Sono, Stuart Baxter, Ted Dumitru, Parreira, Joel Santana, Pitso Mosimane and now, Gordon Igesund, have been assigned to coach Bafana between 1998 and today, which strengthens the minister's words of Bafana's woes not being a coaching problem, but rather a 'crisis of monumental proportions'. What that monumental crises includes and possible ways to mend it is a topic for another day.

 For now, Bafana's task is to restore respect for themselves and bring back the good times, times that will prove useful and make Bafana a football team of everything but a bunch of useless, unbearable individuals.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Katherine Frisk
Market is rigged

As soon as the London and the New York markets have opened, there has been a more and more obvious smashing of the price.  Read more...

3 comments 416 views
Submitted by
liljohnn
The Pied Piper of Nkandla.

They just watch as the sun sets on their dream, their hard fought dream. Read more...

3 comments 399 views
Submitted by
Monsternari@hell
SA Airlink - an expensive journey

Flying to Kimberley today from Cape Town return on Friday. Cost of ticket R 6500. Read more...

20 comments 3968 views
Submitted by
GMitch
Submitted by
Martin Malatjie
Disadvantaged students and poor f...

Every time when political demagogue are on the podium addressing students, they always promise free education, particularly tertiary education. Read more...

10 comments 380 views
Old people & Nurses

Old people… they are not a mysterious species that just one day ‘showed up’, we all know where they come from.  Read more...

5 comments 669 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.