Pirates failure shows SA needs to improve

2013-11-11 06:00

Yesterday I wore my Bafana Bafana shirt in support of Pirates. Since I'm not a Pirates fan I figured with their 9 players chosen for the national team they're representing Mzanzi, so I thought why not?

Little did I know that by the end of the 90 minutes I would feel the same way I feel when watching the national team: frustrated, angry and heart broken.

Why, why, why is this happening!? What do we have to do to beat the best? Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh dammit!! Another 18 years till we get another chance. Fire RDS now! Once I had calmed down, the optimist in me  said 'but Kay, they did well to get this far'.

Here is a team with the average age 26, playing the most attractive football on the continent. They had gone to Lumbabasa and triumphed in front of the army with their arsenal. A South African team, victorious in front of 90 000 of their fans - who would have thought? The shoe-shine-football was exhilarating to watch as every foray going forward left us drooling in anticipation of a goal. The midfield pairing outmuscled and controlled all that came before them. They laid out a blueprint for the national team and how South Africa plays it football. It was a true exhibition of super diski and it truly endeared me to the mighty Bucs. Why should we not be proud? We made it to they final by beating all that came before us. We even dominated in the final and outplayed Al Ahly over both legs. We had more possession and created more goal scoring chances. We where the best team and Al Ahly got lucky!

However, I kicked that optimistic idiot out my head and reality hit home. True - Pirates played the best attacking football on the continent and are a joy to watch, and reaching the final is no easy feat and should be commended. However, Irvin Khoza did not merely want to reach the final - he wanted to win the trophy; he wanted the second star. Merely getting to see the trophy and touching it when you walk out into the field is not the same as the victory lap at the end with it firmly in your hands. Pirates will not get half a star for this, in fact in a few years it will all be forgotten just like the Sundows 2001 final defeat. So what's there to celebrate?

No one doubts our ability to play. The question is can we win when it matters? Against the lesser teams one can afford to miss the million chances and score just one but against the great teams we need to be more ruthless. Al Ahly scored 80% of the chances they created and we scored less than 10%. The best team is the one that takes its opportunities and until we learn that skill we will always be second best!

Let's hope our PSL teams learn from this football lesson that was given to Pirates. Study it, master it and implement it so that next time we celebrate, it's something worth celebrating.

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