S'Busiso Mseleku

How's the mood, Bafana?

2014-02-25 10:54
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
As Bafana Bafana prepare for their friendly match against five-time world champions Brazil next Wednesday, one can’t help but ponder how the mood is going to be in the camp.

This thought was brought about by the shenanigans that ensued after their diabolic performance at the African Nations Championships (CHAN).

There was a lot of finger pointing, accusations and counter-accusations at the end of this tournament.

As things stand, the South African Football Association (SAFA) has appointed a committee to look into the allegations of what went on at that tournament.

These include serious allegations that coach Gordon Igesund tried to influence players to strike and demand more bonuses from the association on the eve of their opening match against Mozambique.

The committee is led by top and respected Cape Town legal eagle, Advocate Norman Arendse, who is a member of the SAFA national executive committee (NEC).

The committee was given 30 days to report back to the NEC with their findings. They are expected to call witnesses and ask for affidavits. Those expected to make presentations to the committee include the head of delegation, the team manager and the team captain.

And therein lies the rub!

There were reports that some senior players reported these shenanigans to SAFA. There were further revelations that some of them had even taken it a step further and reported IT to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula after he had labeled them “a bunch of losers”.

Now as the national team goes into camp, will Igesund not be wondering who are the “snitches” among the players who took part at the tournament?

Will he not be worried what the other members of his technical team had to say or will say about him once they appear before Arendse’s committee?

This is not a conducive situation for good team spirit ahead of such an important match. Igesund will surely be too cautious and is bound to be looking over his shoulder and searching for blades aimed at his back.

Just as one coach who was wont to taking English expressions literally and whose name will remain unmentioned, once quipped “at the end of a coaching career, your back is full of holes”.

Much as there will be a bunch of overseas-based players who were not part of the CHAN squad, I foresee a tense situation during the upcoming camp.

Why?

Igesund has already had fallouts with South Africa’s two best players at the moment, Steven Pienaar who has since retired from international football while he was the captain and Thulani Serero of Ajax Amsterdam.

Pienaar continues to dish out glittering performances for his English Premiership side, Everton.

Igesund and Serero have since smoked the proverbial peace pipe but the midfielder still has to make his first appearance since that bust-up before the 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifier against Botswana last year while Pienaar still remains in his self-imposed exile.

So Igesund can’t afford to have yet another fallout, let’s say with captain Itumeleng Khune.

And what must he do, walk on eggshells?

Not a healthy situation when preparing the team for such an important mission.

My drift, if you catch it, is that this is not an ideal situation and Igesund still has to see the team through friendly matches against Australia and Iran before his contract expires in August.

This is not a good place for the national team to be if you ask me.

So, expecting as spirited an effort as we saw against reigning world and European champions, Spain, against Brazil next Wednesday, might just be a bit lofty. Or the team might just surprise us...

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.

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.

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