Nation is behind you, Bafana, but don’t let us down

2013-01-16 00:00

BIG ups to Cape Town soccer fans for turning out in such numbers for last week’s Bafana Bafana friendly against Norway.

All colours of the Rainbow Nation were present and it created an electric atmosphere.

Pity our beloved Bafana Bafana could not rise to the occasion and fired blanks all night, something that fans have become used to.

Their goal-shyness led colleague Daniel Mothowagae to tweet: “@DanielMothowagae: Why is Bafana blunt in front of goal when our country is known for being the striking nation because of strikers/strikes?”

Quite ironic and I couldn’t agree more.

Missing, or is lacking, was what coach Gordon Igesund had promised in pre-match interviews that: “This is a new era. Whatever has gone before doesn’t matter.”

He had also promised: “We want to excite the people, to play with flair, pace and good commitment.” In another interview, he also mentioned his team playing with “passion”.

However, there was no passion on the field of play.

The only place where passion was displayed was in the packed stands. In fact, the people in Cape Town vindicated their city’s application to be one of the hosts of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Capetonians have set a good example for the entire country to follow before Bafana Bafana take on Cape Verde in their opening Afcon match at FNB Stadium, which will be called the National Stadium for the duration of the tournament.

The tournament opener is sold out, and and people from KwaZulu-Natal should flock to Moses Mabhida Stadium when Bafana play their two group stage matches at the state-of-the-art stadium.

If they do this, they will follow once more on what Mothowagae tweeted last Tuesday night: “@DanielMothowagae: Man of the Match: Crowd @ Cape Town Stadium # BafanaBafana.”

Bafana Bafana players need to come to the party and the coach must also get his ducks in a row.

Igesund seems to be falling rapidly into the same trap that his predecessors did — that of having favourite players.

It defies logic why he has stuck with Lerato Chabangu for so long. He did wonders in getting the player on the straight and narrow, with Moroka Swallows bringing him back to his best. However, save for the match against Brazil, Chabangu has done nothing to show that he deserved to start ahead of the likes of Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro.

What else must Orlando Pirates youngster Thabo Matlaba do to get a starting berth? He gave a glittering performance deserving of a man-of-the-match award against Malawi, only to make way for Tsepo Masilela.

There was a time when Masilela was South Africa’s best left-back, but that’s not the case anymore.

The player is rusty because of injuries and thus gets beaten for pace and even gives position away quite easily.

I guess there is nothing the coach can do about Siyabonga Sangweni, whose form seems to have dipped a little because he is still the best we have for the defender position.

But Igesund needs to think hard and take very tough decisions when he selects his starting line-up for the tournament as there will be no room for mistakes. We don’t want to find ourselves in the same boat as in 2010 when we became the first host nation to bow out in the first round.

Perish the thought!

But if what one witnessed in Cape Town last week is anything to go by, the nation is fully behind Bafana Bafana and it’s time for the boys to come to the party.

Don’t let us down now!

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