Get behind Bafana Bafana!
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Big ups to Cape Town soccer fans for turning out in such numbers for Tuesday evening's Bafana Bafana friendly against Norway.
All colours of the Rainbow Nation were present and it created an electric atmosphere.
Pity our beloved Bafana Bafana could not rise to the occasions and fired blanks all night, something that has become synonymous with them.
Their goal-shyness led to colleague Daniel Mothowagae tweeting: “@DanielMothowagae: Why is Bafana blunt in front of goal when our country is known for being the striking nation because of strikers/strikes?”
Quite ironic and I couldn’t agree more.
Missing, or is lacking, was what coach Gordon Igesund had promised in pre-match interviews that: “This is a new era; whatever has gone before doesn’t matter.”
He had also promised “we want to excite the people, to play with flair, pace and good commitment.” In another interview, he had also mentioned his team playing with “passion”.
However, there was no passion on the field of play. The only place where passion was displayed was on the packed stands. In fact, Cape Town people vindicated their city who had applied to be one of the hosts for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
They have set a good example for the entire country to follow as Bafana Bafana tackle Algeria in their last warm-up match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday and then take on Cape Verde in their opening AFCON match at FNB Stadium - which will be called The National Stadium for the duration of the tournament.
Gautengers must fill up the stadiums for these two matches and so should people from KwaZulu-Natal when Bafana play their two Group stage matches at the state-of-the-art Moses Mabhida Stadium.
If they do this, they will follow once more on what Mothowagae tweeted on Tuesday night: “@DanielMothowagae: Man of the Match: Crowd @ Cape Town Stadium # BafanaBafana”.
Bafana Bafana players need to come to the party and the coach must also get his ducks in a row.
Igesund seems to be fast falling in to the same trap that his predecessors did - that of having favourite players.
It defies logic why he has stuck with Lerato Chabangu for so long. He did wonders in getting the player on the straight and narrow and Moroka Swallows bringing him back to his best. However, save for the match against Brazil, Chabangu has done nothing to show that he deserved to start ahead of the likes of Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro.
What else must Orlando Pirates youngster Thabo Matlaba do to get a starting berth? He gave a glittering performance deserving of a man of the match award against Malawi, only to make way for Tsepo Masilela.
There was a time when Masilela was South Africa’s best left-back, but that’s not the case anymore.
The player is rusty due to injuries and thus gets beaten for pace and even gives position away quite easily.
I guess there is nothing the coach can do about Siyabonga Sangweni whose form seems to have dipped a little because he is still the best we have for the defender position.
But Igesund needs to really think hard and take very tough decisions when he selects his starting line-up for the tournament as there will be no room for mistakes, lest we find ourselves in the same boat as in 2010 when we became the first host nation to bow out in the first round.
Perish the thought!
But if what one witnessed in Cape Town on Tuesday night is anything to go by, the nation is fully behind Bafana Bafana and it's time for the boys to come to the party.
Don't let us down now!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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