S'Busiso Mseleku

Pauw, Da Gama mustn't let sideshows derail them

2016-07-07 22:56
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

A screaming headline: “Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw blasts SASCOC in emotional tirade” really caught me off-guard.

It emerged from the article written by journalist Marc Strydom in Times Live that Pauw’s tirade was triggered by what one may easily call a misunderstanding. Call it a storm in a tea cup if you want.

But what got my goat, is that the explanation given by both the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam and the South African Football Association (SAFA) – who happen to be Pauw’s employers – spokesperson, Dominic Chimhavi, made the coach’s tantrums look like a spoilt brat throwing her toys out of the cot.

Pauw complained that four players and four technical staff members had been “left high and dry without accreditation and accommodation in the Olympic Village” for the big shindig in Rio.

She claimed that Banyana Banyana had been sent from pillar to post by SASCOC, world football governing body FIFA and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) on this matter.

However, a cool as a cucumber Sam pointed out that: “Our account is the number as per the competition rules of the particular federation”.

“And the final decision is taken by SAFA. SAFA will bring to us a team and say‚ ‘this is Banyana Banyana‚ this is the coach‚ this is the manager and these are the technical officials’.

“It’s the federation (SAFA) that gives us those names‚ and we go with the names. Once we’ve got the names it’s our responsibility to get them to and back from the Olympics.”

To which, Chimhavi concurred, saying: “What Gideon Sam is trying to say is that SAFA should look at how they (SAFA) can accommodate their extra squad members. Which is very fair from SASCOC and I totally agree with Mr Sam’s statement.

“What we did is we wrote to SASCOC to ask‚ if they can make provision for our extra technical people. And we would cover the bill. SASCOC is right - the bill comes to us for any extra people.”

Given this, my advice to Pauw would be that she should leave administrative matters to administrators and concentrate on preparing the team for the task at hand.

What’s worse, even a rule pertaining to this matter quoted in the article, showed that she was out of tune.

Banyana have a tough task in a group that has hosts Brazil‚ Sweden and China in it. Better spend all your energy focusing on how to emerge from this tough bunch instead of minor administrative issues.

The other countries who will be in Rio for the women’s soccer tournament are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Columbia and the USA.

Da Gama has also done a great job in qualifying and preparing his Under-23 team for the Olympics.

However, there is still a lingering question about one Tyroane Sandows. The 21-year-old striker who plies his trade in Brazil, where he has been for a decade now, is still not sure whether he will make the cut.

While some - including yours truly - believe that Sandows should have been a shoo-in as someone who has been in Brazil, knows the culture and speaks the language, Da Gama seems to think otherwise.

He did not even invite the player when the Underr-23’s went right to his doorstep in Brazil for a friendly. He was left out of the mostly Under-23 team that successfully represented South Africa at the recently concluded COSAFA Challenge in Namibia.

The player was conspicuous by his absence in the team that recently travelled to Japan for another preparatory friendly.

Maybe there is something that ol’ Rubber Doll knows which we don’t but methinks Sandows would have been a perfect secret weapon against a Neymar Junior-led Brazil.

But the coach knows best. Or does he?

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:    olympics 2016  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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