Axe had long been hanging over ‘Mbazo’

2011-03-19 19:45

Football-following South Africans are split right down the middle over the Aaron Mokoena issue.

You see, national soccer team coach Pitso Mosimane this week took the bold decision and left the former skipper out of the Bafana Bafana team that will face Egypt on Saturday.

This was followed by a huge outcry.

While some didn’t completely disagree with Mosimane’s ­decision, they queried the way it was done.

And therein lies the rub.

By the time this column was written Mosimane had not come out to explain how he had handled this sensitive matter with his previously trusted captain.

Nor had Mokoena come out to complain or explain whether the coach had sat him down and informed him of the decision.

The writing had been on the wall for quite some time that Mokoena’s days in the Bafana Bafana set-up were numbered.

To many, the flashlights started working overtime when Mosimane called up the man known as “Mbazo” – The Axe – the last time around only to leave him on the bench for the entire game.

Many had previously called for Mbazo to be chopped – excuse the intentional pun – from the team.

While being one of the most loyal servants of the national team, as is proven by his many caps, Mokoena has tremendously slowed down in recent times.

His mistakes, emanating from badly timed tackles, have also cost Bafana some crucial matches at times.

It also did not help his cause that his club was relegated from the English Premiership.

The problem with football – which also on the flip-side makes it so interesting – is that it is an emotional game of perceptions and loyalties.

If some fans had it their way, the likes of Kaizer Motaung, ­Jomo Sono, Shakes Mashaba, Cedric “Sugar Ray” Xulu and Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe would still be playing today as nostalgia is such a warm feeling.

Unfortunately Mosimane, as the main man, has to make and live with difficult decisions.

After all, it’s his neck on the block and the nation will be on his case if Bafana lose, Mokoena or no Mokoena.

For now I think the lesson is that nothing lasts forever and “Mbazo” might just take a cue from the Gambling Board’s advice: “Winners know when to quit.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.