Heads to roll for Bafana gaffe
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Let us not beat about the bush; South African football is this morning a laughing stock.
Their failure to read the rule book has led to Bafana Bafana being eliminated from next year’s African Nations Cup finals and has effectively undone all the work and investment that has gone into the team over the last years.
While the South African Football Association might be seeking to shift the blame, and make further fools of themselves by complaining about the methodology of determining group winners, the rules and regulations were fixed and published a long time ago.
Pitso Mosimane plainly did not read them; neither did anybody else at SAFA House. It is a disgrace. In military terms it would be called dereliction of duty and lead to a court martial.
And, that is what plainly must happen.
Both Mosimane and SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani, who is ultimately in charge and must take responsibility for the actions of his employees, must go. It would be dishonourable to stay after such a blunder.
Talk about making fools of the entire South African soccer community and turning us into the laughing stock of the world.
What happened in Nelspruit on Saturday has travelled the world and any positive impact that the 2010 Soccer World Cup made, is now eroded by the stupidity of those who did not bother to check the rules.
Had Mosimane bothered to check, he would have known to play for a win on Saturday rather than close up shop when he presumed goal difference would see the country through to the 2012 finals. The qualification criteria was published on the Confederation of African Football website, prominently and for all to read.
There have been some embarrassing gaffes in South African sporting history before but this is the biggest since Shaun Pollock miscalculated the Duckworth-Lewis system in the Cricket World Cup and the Proteas lost on home soil.
Pollock was kicked out as captain after that; Mosimane and Nematandani should go too.
If you are paid over R250 000 monthly, you should know your stuff. You should make it your business to have all the angles covered.
If you are the president of an association with the resources that SAFA has, you should ensure you have people who understand how football works and that you employ people who do a diligent job - rather than sit around chatting all day.
Patently there has not been the promised progress and so change is demanded. How could they in good conscience stay in the job after such a gaffe?
We had such high hopes for the coach and for a post World Cup era of productivity and success. But we have been badly let down and we are back to square one. These kind of incidents in one day undo the good work of years of steady progress.
Bafana Bafana’s brand is mud again; who is going to bother watching a side who blissfully celebrate defeat.
If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be comically funny. But it is not.
Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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