Love of soccer, dead?

Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
South African football is disorganised. This is a fact and I state it with no fear of contradiction.

Otherwise how does one explain the fact that poor national coach Gordon Igesund who has been given the task of improving Bafana Bafana’s lot, has had to twice pick the national team to represent the country in the Cosafa Cup.

This is a regional tournament contested by Southern African countries.

The biggest problem facing South African football is that there are individuals whose supersized egos do not allow for there to be peace and smooth running of the local game.

As things stand, poor Igesund had to do without 13 of the players who were in his original squad.

The recent shenanigans have shown the highly overrated Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) consisting of members from the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to be a sham if not one big, fat joke.

I mean, this is not the first time the Cosafa Cup comes around. So those choosing this time to tell us that this tournament does not fall within the Fifa calendar, should toss another one.

More so, this happens at a time when SAFA, especially the president Kirsten Nematandani, has been telling us about the Technical Master Plan.

So, do the latest developments mean that those who drafted this document hailed as the saviour for South African football, did not incorporate this tournament that is also important for development and introducing players to international football?

The problem with the relationship between SAFA - the supposed national football governing body - and their special member, the PSL, who are supposed to be an affiliate, is that of a tail wagging the dog.

Due to the egos mentioned above, the PSL never misses an opportunity to show up Safa as the bad guys. And in return, the mother body is a toothless dog and does not have the balls to show their affiliate who is boss.

The relationship is thus because the professional wing is richer than Safa who are amateurs and do not seem to have brave leaders who can stand their ground.

In this instance, Safa should have decided a long time ago whether to take part in the Cosafa Cup or not.

Forget the excuse given by PSL clubs that their players are overworked and that they are not horses.

If this is the case, then there is a serious problem with our clubs’ training programmes because with just 16 clubs in the PSL, South African players actually play far less matches than their European and South American counterparts where leagues have an average of 20 teams.

Also forget the excuse that was made some years back when the league was trimmed down to 16 clubs and even some cup competitions discontinued “to save players from fatigue.”

Remember that no sooner was this done and the Vodacom Challenge, an off-season tournament involving Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates first against clubs from the continent and later some European clubs, was launched.

Recently the Charity Cup - a one day event that featured four PSL clubs with proceeds going to the needy as part of the league’s social investment programme - was discontinued, with the same reason given of saving players from more action.

But lo and behold! The ink was hardly dry on the agreement scrapping the Charity Cup, than Chiefs and Pirates launched the Carling Black Label Cup that features the two of them.

Please stop telling us that players need to rest when it suites some individuals!

If South African football was not as disorganised as it is, the two bodies would have long ago come with a solution to the Cosafa Cup conundrum but no, they are just not prepared to work together.

And poor Igesund is caught in the middle of a tug-o-war between some egocentric individuals whose main interest is point-scoring.

Whatever happened to doing it for the love of the game?

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
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