2015-04-30 16:49

THE death of Eric Mtshatsha this week signals the end of an era of selfless leaders. I was privileged to have known and worked with this football giant as a player and later a football coach.

When most football leaders used their positions to line their pockets, Mtshatsha remained true to the teachings of his ancestors.

Football leadership just like politics in the new South Africa is more about leaders than the masses. Development to these learned modern leaders is more about conferences in posh hotels than sweating in dusty fields.

Incidentally, Mtshatsha is travelling to the ancestor’s world with Shoes, the product of African football development model.

When most leaders became crazy about Safa-sponsored cars, the gentleman continued using his old-model Toyota. The responsibility of any government, including football, is to create an enabling environment. It is not about telling people what is good for them as is currently happening.

The current generation of football leaders want us to believe that South African football solutions lie in Europe.

This was a man who believed in African solutions for South African football. Currently, we are blindly copying truckloads of foreign cultural paraphernalia and systems that are garishly out of place. The all-consuming mentality seems to be, if Germany wins a World Cup with a white in technical leadership, so too must an African team.

We pay tribute to this giant.

He may not have been on the front and back pages of national newspapers, but he was a true leader of the game. He may not have been an expert in foreign languages, but knew what his people wanted.

May the death of “Baba” Mtshatsha remind us about our development systems that evolved over the years and reflect our unique cultural, social and political experiences. Unzima lo mthwalo.


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