Pitso in 2011: good but not good enough

2011-11-19 17:48

Many people are asking themselves why Pitso Mosimane is still in the Bafana Bafana hot seat.

After Bafana’s failure to book a place in the Africa Nations Cup finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea – for the second consecutive tournament after missing out on the Angola tourney – many thought Safa would follow the same route as Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt by sacking Mosimane.

Safa decided to buck the trend and change the status quo where failure to qualify for a major tournament was met with an axe. They stuck with him to take the country to the promised land, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

This week Bafana dropped to another level when they went 2-1 down to neighbours Zimbabwe to finish the year on a low, once more prompting calls for Mosimane’s head.

Mosimane might have failed in his first mandate to qualify for the Afcon finals, but his “vision 2014” is a long-term project and it’s still too early to condemn him.

Although Mosimane has apologised to the nation for the team’s failure, he will always be judged and remembered for his failure to interpret the tournament’s rules, which saw Bafana miss out.

Winning four out of nine games is a good record for a national team, even though three of those victories came in friendly matches against minnows Kenya, Tanzania and a weakened Burkina Faso.

Bafana’s only highlight this year was getting four points out of reigning African champions Egypt after beating them at home and drawing away in Cairo.

Bafana are not going to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea because they lost to Niger and drew against Sierra Leone.

Mosimane’s other shortcoming is his failure to move out of Carlos Parreira’s shadow and be his own man. He has no solid succession plan.

Since taking over last year, he has not made changes to the team and it’s difficult to say what his philosophy is. The team is still feeding off the World Cup foundation laid by Parreira and the big question is: How do we move forward and what exactly is his succession plan?

One of Mosimane’s downfalls has been his failure to identify and nurture capable backup for injury-prone Tsepo Masilela in the left-back position.

As a result, right-footed Siboniso Gaxa has been deployed in that position since the game against Egypt in March.

Goal-scoring has been Bafana’s Achilles heel, and Mosimane has not found a formula to ease the burden on Katlego Mphela, who averages a goal in every two matches and has netted 22 times in 44 games.

He may have received a lifeline this year, but Mosimane might eventually have to walk the plank for failing to qualify for the World Cup or succeed-ing in the 2013 Afcon at home.

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