New sports minister Nathi Mthethwa weighs in on Bafana’s poor Afcon start

Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia (left) and Bafana Bafana's Thulani Hlatshwayo jump for the ball during their African Cup of Nations group D match at Al Salam Stadium in Egypt. Picture: Ariel Schalit/AP
Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia (left) and Bafana Bafana's Thulani Hlatshwayo jump for the ball during their African Cup of Nations group D match at Al Salam Stadium in Egypt. Picture: Ariel Schalit/AP

Newly appointed Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has weighed in on Bafana Bafana’s stuttering start at Afcon, saying South Africans would be justified to criticise a poor performance.

Such was the case in Bafana’s 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast on Monday.

But Mthethwa believes that Bafana can roll over Namibia on Friday, and even put one over Morocco in their final group match.

“Our national team has what it takes to have won against Ivory Coast but it was a disappointment,” the minister told a set of South African media doing duty at Afcon.

“If you trace the past year they have really pulled up their socks. But in that game, they were not coherent.”

Bafana’s negative start at Afcon has somewhat triggered fears that the team could go the way of other SA national teams that recently flopped in major tournaments.

“This tournament [Afcon] ends on July 19 and when we go back after everything, we’ll see what we do but we need all the stakeholders – Safa, the coaches and technical people – to talk.

“We are not going to get into operations or selection but we are going to have an opinion if it’s pointed towards that direction,” said Mthethwa, who succeeded Thokozile Xasa in the portfolio.

“Something drastic needs to be done about our football at home.”

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August 2020

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