AFCON

SA target glory amidst gloom

2013-01-19 14:47
Bongani Khumalo (AP)

Johannesburg - South Africa hopes for glory when the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off Saturday, but a match-fixing scandal, a poor standard of domestic soccer and mismanagement cast shadows over the hosts.

Bafana Bafana won the tournament as hosts in 1996, but many supporters doubt whether they can repeat the feat, even with home advantage and tens of thousands of supporters blowing noisy vuvuzelas.

Despite boasting by far the richest national league in Africa with a $1.2m (R10.6m) first prize, no local club has won the CAF Champions League since Orlando Pirates succeeded 18 years ago.

"Players don't have enough international exposure at club level. When they go to the national team, that gets exposed," said Matshelane Mamabolo, an award-winning Johannesburg Star football writer.

"When you move to international level, nothing really is happening. The junior teams are virtually non-existent," he told AFP.

So, ironically, the highest-paid footballers on the continent, earning up to $563 000 (R5m) a year, are usually early casualties in pan-African competitions.

Just months before the Africa Cup, a FIFA investigation uncovered a major match-fixing scandal ahead of the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, with friendlies against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala allegedly fixed.

The report claimed some South African Football Association (SAFA) officials worked with the Singapore-based Football 4U group and, with the collusion of convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal Raj, fixed the four games by using referees who made a host of dubious decisions.

Five senior SAFA officials, including president Kirsten Nematandani and acting chief executive Dennis Mumble, were suspended pending an internal inquiry last year.

However, the bans were later lifted on a technicality, and the probe postponed until after the Africa Cup, which finishes on February 10.

Adding to the woes of SAFA, just four months into the financial year they are reportedly $1.1m in debt.

Corruption is believed to be rife in lower-tier leagues, but usually only referees are punished, while clubs and senior officials are let off the hook, said Mamabolo.

"In football, there are untouchables. That set a precedent. People felt they can continue to do it and not get punished," he explained.

"There's a feeling people are not in it for the love of the game, but to line their pockets.

"Virtually the same people have managed the game since South Africa were readmitted to international football in 1992 as the apartheid regime crumbled.

"They are not doing enough to develop the game beyond the elite Premiership league," Mamabolo said.

Last year, eight Premier Soccer League executives paid themselves bonuses running into millions of rand, but the second-tier league did not have a sponsor.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  afcon  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Final Bafana squad named

2014-09-03 07:46

 

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
19 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

7 insanely cool smartphone photography tips

With these smartphone photography tips your pics will have some edge!

 
 

For chic geeks...

10 mind-blowing explosions done in the name of science
Wearable Tech: Sleek or geek?
Geeky DIY tips to make you the talk of the town
Polaroid’s new rugged action cam is badass
Vote

Who do you think will be the next manager at Manchester United?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

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.