What's [not] wrong with Bafana Bafana?

2015-09-06 00:01

With every passing loss, the reality dawns on the denialists that Bafana Bafana are, indeed, disgraceful. Tactically and technically inept performances by the one-time African kingpins tell a classic fall-from-grace tale. In lieu of dwelling on their shortcomings, perhaps it’s time to address the root cause of such underwhelming performances and propose solutions.

Team selection has been a contentious issue for the better part of the decade. Players picked on reputation or familiarity instead of form do not benefit the team in any way. Even with such a simplistic realisation, players such as the out-of-sorts Khune and the inconsistent Serero still find their way into the starting XI. Spare a thought for Shakes Mashaba. It goes without saying that Mashaba is not blessed with riches and selection headaches in the same vein as, say, Joachim Löw. After all, we have the prolific Rantie leading the line.

It would be fairly unwise to assess Bafana Bafana’s weaknesses without glancing at the [lack of] quality of local clubs. Bar Orlando Pirates, no other PSL team seems capable of competing with other African giants. Since a significant portion of the players in the national set-up are either home-based or playing in lesser European leagues, one wonders if they get the requisite preparation to compete at continental and international levels. I reckon it’s time for Bobby Motaung to take the CAF Champions League seriously to stand any chance of putting the Chiefs-Pirates debate to rest.

Thabo Rakhale’s emergence on the scene has reinstated the joy that used to overcome fans during Scara Ngobese’s days and before. As a stern ode to trademark South African football, Rakhale not only scores worldies, but he also displays the kasi football fans have been yearning for. Some fans believe it all went wrong when we started playing a foreign brand of football. As a result, our football has become boring, rigid, and infertile. It is needless to adopt a philosophy if you don’t have the players to seamlessly execute it. We have to re-embrace our own style.

Over and above, is it not time to admit that Bafana Bafana just aren’t as good as some people would love to believe? Since the current crop is a lost cause, it is time to invest heavily in the development of young footballers and coaches all over South Africa. Posh facilities will just not cut it; we have to invest in coaching. Not all coaches can afford to attend a course facilitated by football periodisation expert Raymond Verheijen or football psychologist Dan Abrahams. All SAFA coaching courses should, thus, inherently have comprehensive elements of sport science. This will equip coaches with the necessary skills and nous to teach and rectify technique from an early age, as well as supplement tactical thinking. Alternatively, coaching academies can be established (and funding provided) to meet this need.

Will it take a loss to San Marino (they’ve only EVER won one match in their illustrious history) for the powers that be to take action? Over to you, Razzmattazz.

Tweet me @uncle_uhuru

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