S'Busiso Mseleku

Bafana Bafana firing blanks

2012-10-05 14:30
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
When one sees statistics such as that Lionel Messi has scored 200 goals in his last 201 matches for Barcelona, it just shows once more how much is wrong with South African football.

Messi scored a total of 18 hat-tricks last season alone.

And here in South Africa, Siyabonga Nomvethe scored a lousy 20 goals in the entire season to be crowned the PSL’s top goalscorer and pocket R50 000!

For years now, it has been pointed out that South African soccer’s major Achilles heel is goalscoring.

Our players have been firing blanks for decades.

In some instances, the misses are so glaring that they are tantamount to failure to knock someone down even if their hands are tied behind their backs.

It is quite amazing that those in charge of our football have failed to come up with a solution to this age-old problem. It is mind-boggling that all the soccer or football - as some call it - academies that have mushroomed all over the place have all failed to come up with a remedy either.

That Benni McCarthy is still the all-time Bafana Bafana leading goalscorer even after not playing for the national team in donkey's years, is a serious indictment on the South African game.

He is followed by Shaun Bartlett who has also not kicked a ball in anger in many moons. He is now actually the assistant coach at Lamontville Golden Arrows.

This is a serious matter that needs to addressed.

Had this matter been resolved some time back, we would be talking a different story about Bafana Bafana’s result against Brazil in their recent friendly given the number of opportunities they created.

They would have buried a hapless Mozambique in an avalanche of goals as well.

The sooner South Africa solves this problem, the better. And this is not the duty of national team coach Gordon Igesund.

It is the work that must be done at grass root level. It is the job of the development coaches. Goal scoring instincts must be instilled in players at a very young age.

Young players must be drilled that the main purpose of playing football is to score goals and not the usual kick-about we are usually exposed to.

South African football has gone a long time without that animal called a “feared striker” and as a result our defenders and goalkeepers are having a field day.

It is only when confronted with foreign marksmen that our defenders and ‘keepers realise what it is to face somebody who knows where the back of the net is.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has been singing the same tune that they will be implementing a sound development programme.

This should happen yesterday and goal scoring should be top priority.

And former top goal poachers such as Marks Maponyane, Shane McGregor, Phil “Chippa” Masinga, Noel Cousins and Daniel Mudau, to mention just a few, can play a major role in guiding the youngsters on how it is done.

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.

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Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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