S'Busiso Mseleku

Players must take centre stage

2012-09-11 12:57
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Who is the Spanish Football Association president? Who are the CEO and chairperson of the Spanish La Liga?

Got you there!

While you are still scratching your head, let me make it easier for you: Who are the Soccer World Cup champions? Which country is ranked No 1 on the FIFA rankings? Which country are the reigning European champions after successfully defending their title?

I guess you struggled with the first two questions, but found questions three to five a breeze.

The reason I’m going this route is to show once more that there is so much wrong with South African soccer.

Had I asked you to give me the names of the South African Football Association (SAFA) president and CEO as well as those of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson and CEO, you would have rattled them out without shedding a sweat.

This is one of the things that are wrong with our football.

Soccer bosses take more centre stage than players do. They are more prominent and occupy more space in the media than the players. This is one of the reasons the country has seen crowds dwindle to an appalling number in the past few years.

Go to Spain, England, Germany and Italy, you will find stadiums packed week in and week out regardless of which clubs are playing.

Ask any soccer follower who are the top players in England and Spain, they will sing the names out without an effort.

This is because the players are at the forefront as these are the people the fans pay their hard-earned cash to watch every week.

However, here in South Africa, it is all about this soccer official and this soccer organisations.

SAFA and the PSL are always competing for media space in such a way that it is even clouded which is the mother body and which one is a special member of the other as they compete for the same space.

Soccer bosses are always in the spotlight over their petty politics.

This week, after Mamelodi Sundowns suffered their second league defeat at the hands of Maritzburg United (after they were beaten by arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs), the club’s president, Patrice Motsepe, has been hogging headlines even without uttering a word.

Several stories have been written about his next move on the coach. Poor Johan Neeskens!

But no one has spoken to the players to find out what was wrong and how they felt about the whole shebang that despite having one of the best assembled squads in the PSL, they have failed to deliver.

This is a South African syndrome that sees officials being treated more importantly than the players while the latter are treated as mere commodities.

Even in the so-called smaller teams, people know more about their bosses and about the team than the players.

And then we sit and wonder why giants like SuperSport fall all over themselves to buy television rights for European leagues such as the English, German, Spanish and Italian. It is because of the big-name players plying their trade in these leagues and not the officials.

But here in South Africa, the story is different.

Even when Barcelona came here to play against Mamelodi Sundowns, there were reports of Motsepe having to trade with striker Katlego Mphela to give him Brazilian Ronaldinho’s shirt.

I mean, players usually exchange jerseys among themselves with no interference from the big bosses.

The sooner this attitude changes, the better, and once our players become central and pivotal to reports about soccer, I can assure it will go a long way to address the stadium attendance issue.

I mean, if instead of asking you who the Spanish FA president, La Liga CEO and chairperson are, I asked you to give me the names of players in the Spanish national team, you would have rattled out the likes of Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol.

See, that’s wherein lies the rub of my argument.

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
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Bok-free Lions making merry

2014-10-23 10:00

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

The route of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic has been announced and it promises to be as challenging as ever!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Western Province and the Golden Lions will do battle at Newlands on Saturday, October 25 for the 2014 Absa Currie Cup title. Who will lift the trophy after 80 minutes?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.