Pressing Isuues: Bafana trip fiasco paints bad picture

2013-06-09 14:00

Timing of Safa president’s utterances about elections leaves bitter taste in the mouths of players’ worried parents

Events around Bafana Bafana this past week just showed a picture of the Africa we would not like to be associated with.

Often we hear South Africans refer to the continent as if they are not part of it.

“Going into Africa” is a common statement as if we are somewhere in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

Speeches such as Thabo Mbeki’s “I’m an African” and Ingoapele Madingoane’s poem “Africa My Beginning, Africa My Ending” were an attempt at reminding us that we belong to and are part of the continent.

However, events such as Bafana being stuck in Duoala en route to Yaoundé and being told that their flight had been cancelled, another plane said not to have wheels fit for takeoff and eventually having to travel seven hours by road to reach their destination, are totally unacceptable.

As much as we are averse to using Europe as a barometer, this would never happen on that continent.

Such incidents are a black mark on the continent that outsiders call it “The Dark Continent” offends us so.

And then there was an outcry about why the South African Football Association (Safa) didn’t charter a flight for the trip.

I hold no brief for Safa and guess by now everybody knows what I think of the suits running that organisation, but I found these comments to be displaying a serious case of double-standards prompted by high emotions.

Safa is cash-strapped, remember? It has been vilified by every Tom, Dick and Harry – even by those who can’t count a thousand rand put together – for throwing their money around.

One of the still unproven accusations levelled at Safa is that some of their honchos have helped themselves to the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Fund.

It is under these circumstances that CEO Dennis Mumble has been given strict instructions to cut down on costs and come up with cost-cutting measures.

And it was under these circumstances that Safa looked at a cheaper way to have Bafana travel to Cameroon and little did they know that their plan would backfire.

But what got my goat was that Safa president Kirsten Nematandani chose the moment right in the middle of this whole marakalas when some parents didn’t even know whether their children were safe as they were stuck between Douala and their final destination, to announce that he would be standing for another term.

I guess no one has ever told Nematandani that timing is everything.

Mr President, you couldn’t have chosen a worst time to make your earth-moving announcement.

You should at least have waited for the team maybe to beat the Central African Republic, or even Ethiopia, and then made the announcement while the nation was in a celebratory mood.

But as it is, the timing of your announcement left a bad taste in the mouth.

Why, he even made a startling revelation to our sister publication Sunday Sun’s Sports Editor Matthews Mpete: “My technical master plan will be properly implemented in the next four years.”

And we all thought this was a Safa plan. But now we know better.

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