So the money is there. The Stadia are there (world class). Think Moses Mabhida Stadium, Cape Town Stadium, and The National Stadium popularly known as FNB. The facilities are there we all agree. So what is the problem with Bafana?
They are a few problems with Bafana Bafana actually. I will start with the Covert ones and then go to the Overt problems.
Covert Problems: In their minds Bafana assume they are better than any team on the continent (despite stats proving otherwise). This comes from the false impression that a sound economy and infrastructure play football. If that was the case why would Ghana or Ivory coast even pitch up against Japan or USA. Those things don't play soccer but yes they help with the planning around it. Its the talent on the pitch that plays for 90min. Lets get that in our heads once and for all.
Covert Problems: Bafana Bafana lose away from home and they think it cannot be that the other team scored more than them. Its got nothing to do with the other team being better but all to do with a bad pitch, bad referee, and a bad hotel. Sometimes these so called bad pitches look exactly like the ones I have seen Bafana play on right here at home. Remember Mbombela during AFCON. Yes that was our own pitch not a stadium imported from elsewhere. Rustenburg was not far better off either during AFCON.
The complains sound even more silly when you consider a team like Ivory Coast has 100% of its team playing UEFA Champions League soccer for teams like Chelsea, Man City, Galatasarey but they do the job and move on bad pitch or not. It shows they understand the bigger picture better than our players. With the moaning and whinging you would be mistaken for thinking its the Bafana players earning the $250k a week that these west Africans earn in Europe but hell no our best paid guys are a tenth of that per month!(not per week). So where does this misplaced superiority come from?
So lets sort out some of these psychological and superiority problems when we approach the game.
Overt Problems: Seeing Bafana players line up against any West African team you begin to understand what their moniker means. Very few people want to admit but the truth is size matters in soccer. Our players are not as big and as athletic as the West Africans and it seems we are doing nothing about it or we do nothing about it when we play them. We are not going to grow a few inches before a game granted. But tackling the games versus bigger opponents the way we would play against same sized opposition is futile if not right out idiotic. The 50/50 balls are never won, and when they decide to keep the ball there is pretty much nothing we can do about it. Our defenders are harassed through out by the bigger strikers while their defenders are intimidating and out muscling and yes out running our strikers. On strength alone.
The myth that we are more skilful should be discarded TODAY. That is not true. Doing a few tricks in the centre circle is foolish if not completely idiotic. So when other teams are not implementing this overrated way of play it does not mean they cannot do it.
Whats the point of a tsamaya or shibhobho in the centre circle when you have the clock ticking away and points to play for? Any player at that level can do tricks. Go to any practice field anyway in the world and see what players can do with the ball. They do the most amazing tricks but they are smart enough to know when and when not to use these things. So bust that myth today. We are not anymore skilled than the next bunch of professionals.
Overt Problem: We do not have anyone of significance playing in any relevant European team. Even the best of Brazil play in Europe so why don't we see this OVERT problem as one contributing to our failures. This actually is one of the biggest problem if not THE biggest problem. Our players must go out there and test themselves with best. Our players must not be scared to earn their wings even in other leagues on the continent. (I bet no one ever thought of that one) I would go out there and play if it meant growing and improving my game, I have seen many players from other African countries playing in Egypt and Tunisia but never a South African player. That mental block must also be removed if our players are to learn different things on the pitch not the one dimensional shibhobho.
There is also a false notion that small players are quicker than bigger players. Not true, its actually the mascular players who have a burst of speed. Proven even by 100m sprinters in Athletics. These guys look more like bodybuilders than runners. I digress but my point being size matters in modern day sport unless you are EXCEPTIONALLY talented of which we all know we are NOT. Why? Because, even though with all the stadiums, the sponsorship, the best coaches money could buy and all the luxuries we still cannot come out of a group comprising Botswana, CAR, and Ethiopia. Its shows the only thing lacking in the puzzle is real world class talent.
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