S'Busiso Mseleku

SA's AFCON spot no certainty

2014-04-30 10:43
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
There is this joke that is told when a team is not doing well. It has been made several times in reference to Bafana Bafana...

The joke goes that a boy, who was being abused by his parents, was asked by a judge who he would rather stay with after accusing all his relatives of beating him up.

“Bafana Bafana!” the urchin is said to have answered excitedly.

“Why?” asked the puzzled man of law.

“Because they don’t beat anyone!” the boy shouted.

I’m reminded of this joke by Gordon Igesund’s comments following Sunday’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier draw conducted in Cairo. The finals will be held in Morocco next year.

Bafana Bafana were paired with reigning champions Nigeria, Sudan and the winner of Namibia, Congo (Brazzaville), Libya and Rwanda who will be engaged in a playoff.

No sooner was the draw announced, and coach Igesund pronounced: “It is a fair draw and I think we should be one of the two countries that qualify to the finals in Morocco.”

He added: “Bafana Bafana should be one of the countries going to Morocco.”

Well, I don’t know on what he is basing that assumption. As far as I am concerned, Bafana Bafana do not beat anyone and there is no draw that can be said to be easy for them.

I mean, our national team have disappointed in the AFCON (2013) and the African Nations Championships (CHAN), when both tournaments were hosted in this country.

And this is not a new thing as they have failed to qualify for any top tournament in years.

This is one of the reasons that led to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula calling the players a “bunch of losers”.

In qualifying his statement, the energetic minister even asked, what this group of players have won for the nation.

The answer is zilch!

So does Igesund hope to qualify - that is if he is still the coach - for the AFCON with the same bunch of players or there is something he knows which we don’t?

On another note, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) did a good thing by postponing most of their league matches this past weekend.

The way the programme has turned out, it was going to disadvantage a number of clubs such as Mamelodi Sundowns who are one of the clubs in contention for the league title, as well as some of those fighting to avoid relegation who were going to find themselves in a cock-eyed situation.

Had they played their match this weekend, 'Downs were to be left with one league game only while their main rivals Kaizer Chiefs would still have three to finish their league programme.

I was actually surprised that when Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, complained about this situation after his club’s 1-0 victory over Moroka Swallows last week, PSL general manager Derek Blanckensee didn’t see anything wrong.

He actually ruled Mosimane off-side.

But I am glad that the PSL management found reason to oblige. This makes sense as the league title hangs in the balance between Sundowns and Chiefs.

It is very important that the playing field is leveled, more especially at this time of the season when the league is about to be wrapped up.

It promises to be another photo-finish this time around as the two clubs jostle for the top position.

Will it be Mosimane bringing the first trophy in five years or will Stuart Baxter be the one spotting a smile as wide as the Pacific as he would have successfully defended the title?

We will know come May 10, if the season finishes on that day as originally scheduled.

But for now, we are enjoying the ride on this roller coaster.

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:    safa  |  bafana bafana  |  psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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