S'Busiso Mseleku

Is there a solution to Bafana's perennial underachievement?

2017-09-08 12:59
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

It is difficult to write a column based on any national team without getting emotional.

Social media platforms went viral following Bafana Bafana’s 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night.

This was a second defeat - by the same scoreline - to the same team in a matter of five days.

Things got worse on Wednesday night when FIFA announced that the result of the Soccer World Cup qualifier that Bafana won 2-1 against Senegal last November, had been nullified.

This follows after Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who handled the match, was banned for life earlier this year after findings that the match had been manipulated.

FIFA has ordered that the match be replayed during the FIFA international break in November. This means Bafana will now have back-to-back matches against the West African country.

The decision also leaves Bafana at the bottom of the log, but in an even worse position as they now only have a single point from their three qualifiers to date.

So after Tuesday night’s result, millions of armchair coaches hurled a disparaging range of expletives at the national team.

Some tried to come up with solutions that ranged from sensible to totally absurd.

Why, I even found myself being drawn into the mix through this Tweet: Matshaya, Doyi @Maliqo Blame @SBu_Mseleku for this misery. Why did he gave us this #BafanaBafana name not #MadodaMadoda?

The result also saw a #Bringbackshakesmashaba movement being launched.

And there was the usual blame game, some blaming the coach, others the players and some laying the blame at the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) doorstep.

I think there is a need to put emotions aside, and look at this situation with sobriety.

First, it is a fact that this is a disaster of humongous proportions.

In our attempt to conjure a solution, we need a holistic approach that will look at all the facts without emotion and come up with a lasting solution.

This is no time to resort to old and tired clichés such as “going back to the drawing board”, “we are still on a learning curve” or the famous and most popular one “fire the coach!”.

These have gotten us nowhere in the past.

Maybe, the road to redemption should start with the admission that we, mostly our players, are not world-beaters.

We also need to acknowledge that the results such as the away win against Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier was just a fluke and one of those that the English would describe as one swallow not meaning it's summer.

Conceding the above facts will be a good beginning to the road to redemption.

Let’s deal with the first one. If we concede that we are not world beaters, the next question would be: How do we get there?

Those in charge of our football, with the help of the nation, would have to come up with a well-thought out plan and implement it so thoroughly that there will be no room for failure.

In doing this, we also need to consider that you don’t start a house with the bedrooms, but at the foundation.

Then the next aspect that will need to be addressed would be how we achieve (or attain if not maintain) consistency in results.

This rollercoaster of emotions that is caused by the inconsistent results of Bafana Bafana who seem to take two steps forward and 10 backwards, is not good for anyone.

For me, those are the two key issues that need to be addressed without being emotional but taking a realistic approach.

Lynch me if you will, but that’s my two cents worth of advice to whoever is concerned.

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 over 30 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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