Media free to criticise
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens has his guns pointed at the wrong target.
For some time now, the Dutch coach has had an unprecedented go at the media.
This week, he totally went overboard with his vitriol and attack on the newshounds who cover the beautiful game.
Why, the man with a gigantic chip on his shoulder, even had the temerity to suggest that only people who have played the game must be allowed to criticise, adding that the media should give credit where it is deserved.
To be honest, there hasn’t been anything positive about The Brazilians’ performace this season, maybe except the fact that they find themselves in the Telkom Knockout final.
They are still one place above the bottom club on the log, thanks to their 1-0 away victory to Bloemfontein Celtic whom they meet in the final on Saturday.
This was only their second league win this season. That’s cause for concern for anyone, even the thick-skinned Neeskens, more especially for a side as expensively-assembled as Sundowns.
Neeskens's argument about people who have not played the game should not be allowed to coach or criticise has been adequately answered first by Arrigo Sacchi who performed wonders with AC Milan and the Azzuri - the Italian national team - and later The Special One Jose Mourinho when they said: “You don’t need to have been a horse to be a good jockey.”
Also, professional soccer players are paid a lot of money just to kick the damn ball. If they can’t get it right, then they should take the criticism or rather consider other professions.
We are going to criticise soccer players – more especially the professionals – when they fail to do properly what they are paid to do.
Given that Neeskens was one hell of a player as part of that Total Football Dutch national team of the 1970s dubbed by many as the best national team not to win the Soccer World Cup, and has had some measured success as a coach, that does not preclude him from scrutiny and criticism.
He should learn to take it on the chin and do his talking through tactics on the field of play.
Another sideshow to Saturday’s final is the case Sundowns captain, Teko Modise.
The player has had such bad luck that he still has to cherish some silverware in his career in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
It has indeed been as if the soccer gods have something or are playing a dirty game against the talented Modise.
SuperSport United never won anything when he was still playing for them and no sooner has he moved to “greener pastures” with Orlando Pirates, United won three back-to-back league titles.
The same happened at the Buccaneers as soon as he turned his back on them after being lured by Patrice Motsepe’s millions to Sundowns, the floodgates of success opened and its now history that Ezimnyama have won two back-to-back trebles since his departure.
Did someone cast a spell on this poor young man? Will it end on Saturday when he leads 'Downs against Celtic at the Moses Mabhida Stadium?
Celtic would be hoping not as they also aim to end a seven-year trophy drought.
These are just some of the things that make football so fascinating.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.
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.