Bafana Bafana

OPINION | SAFA's blurred 'Vision 2022' blueprint has blinded South African soccer to reality

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Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)
Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)

Calls for the autocratic Danny Jordaan to resign have intensified after last weekend's jarring 2-0 defeat against Sudan effectively assured South Africa failed to qualify for next year's African Nations Cup Finals in Cameroon.

It is further evidence that the blurred "Vision 2022" blueprint the SAFA president initially trumpeted in 2014 has only blinded South African soccer to reality.

"Vision 2022" prophesied South Africa would be in line to at least reach the Nations Cup semi-finals in Cameroon, instead of watching wistfully from a distance in the role  of tournament non-qualifiers.

What is more, this is only one of the countless miscalculations regarding Bafana's systematic progress that "Vision 2022" has put down on paper over seven years leading up to the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar.

And while indignant and angry local soccer followers also called for the head of relatively inexperienced coach at this level, Molefi Ntseki, as is the norm for anyone in the precarious role who does not deliver the goods, it is Jordaan who appears to be bearing the brunt of the ire for Bafana's failures over an ongoing period.

After the commendable annexing of the Nations Cup in 1996, reaching the final in 1998 and the semi-finals in 2000, Bafana have dismally failed to qualify for the finals of four of the last Nations Cup Finals segments.

In the supreme challenge of World Cup qualifying, South Africa's decline in recent times has been even more glaring after reaching the Finals in France in 1998 and again in Japan and South Korea in 2002, with Bafana only having participated in one World Cup since - and that was with qualification only automatic as the hosts of the 2010 tournament - while reaching the second round  is still an elusive commodity to this day.

Nevertheless, "Vision 2022" predicted a course in which Bafana would reach the second round of the World Cup Finals in Russia, instead of coming no closer to the event than figuratively reaching Siberia as non-qualifiers.

As to the matter of rankings, "Vision 2022" has been even further off the mark than the World Cup and African Nations Cup's misplaced reckoning.

After being ranked in the 70s in the world by Fifa in 2014, "Vision 2022" stipulated steady progress to a place in the top 20  by 2022. So where are Bafana now? Still clinging to a place round the 70s!

In the African rankings in 2014, Bafana were placed round the 15th mark, but presently it was supposed to be nothing less than to boast a top five position. But where are Bafana? Round the 15th position!

Of course, if there is a dramatic change in fortunes for Bafana in the coming World Cup qualifiers, Jordaan, if he survives his current crisis, could still claim to be something of a wizard when it comes to looking into the future.

It needs to be noted, however, that 50 nations are vying for the five positions earmarked for African nations among the 32 teams in Qatar and crossing Bafana in an early stage of qualifying is no less than Ghana, who proved more than a handful in the Nations Cup qualifiers and have a record of second to none among African nations in World Cup Final tournaments

Remember also that "Vision 2022" back in 2014 had not only suggested  Bafana would qualify for the World Cup in 2022, but would earn nothing less than a quarter final berth.

So what is the lesson from all the soccer shenanigans that are more harmful than beneficial? Well it could be that looking towards the problems of today and tomorrow rather than what will happen in eight years time might not be a bad idea.

Disclaimer: 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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