Bafana Bafana get fouled at every turn

2010-02-27 15:23

WHAT a balls-up! We are spending just more than R180?billion on

improving infrastructure for the World Cup, but our national squad, in whose

performance we are invested, doesn’t have two tickeys to rub ­together.

Consider this. As host nation South Africa was the first to qualify

but the last team to find a training camp. And it’s not really a camp. The team

will be
staying at an hotel in Sandton and training across the road.

It’s OK, but as a fairly wealthy country a plan should have been

made to give our boys state-of-the-art training ­facilities.

Esselen Park required a facelift costing R16 million, which Safa

could not afford and which the landlord, Transnet, would not pay. If fixed

timeously the venue could have been ideal and a perfect legacy for ­future

generations of players.

Now short-term planning means that only Southern Sun will benefit

from the players’ camp and future players will not be able to take inspiration

from playing their game at a World Cup training camp.

The value of legacy cannot be overstated.

A key aspect of hosting the World Cup is that its physical and

emotional legacy must be felt for generations, otherwise all it will become for

us is a very expensive one-month-long football tournament.

You can’t imagination that Italy or Brazil would treat their stars

of the show and the immediate hosts of the soccer festival in such a poor


Now the team’s training camp in Brazil is up in the air, with no

plans made and with less than a week to departure.

The SA Football Association (Safa) is cash-strapped and hasn’t

budgeted for the trip, which coach Carlos Parreira has already had to postpone.

The team needs this camp to keep the players together and get

international experience. There is only one international match left to play

with just more than 100 days to go before the tournament. So the Brazilian and

German camps are ­essential for preparation.

Last week we reported that Bafana Bafana had not been paid their

match fees for a game against Zimbabwe in January.

And while the money has now landed in their accounts, the patchy

finances of Safa are hurting our already faltering prospects in the World Cup.

The soccer mandarins are playing the blame game, with the current

bosses blaming the past ones for dodgy accounts and overstated profits.

Accountability is always important, but in this instance it is more

important to set aside differences and get a cash injection for Bafana Bafana to

ensure that the Brazilian camp goes off without a hitch.

Then the players should be paid and planning smoothed so that their

eye is on the ball.

After the end of the Fifa World Cup we can make a final effort at

ensuring that our soccer ­administration becomes world-class.

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