ANCYL gets behind Mbalula
Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League has supported comments made by sports minister Fikile Mbalula about Bafana Bafana's performance in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament.
"The ANCYL shares the frustration of the nation as expressed by Minister Fikile Mbalula on the pathetic performance by Bafana Bafana," spokesman Bandile Masuku said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We appreciate that players availed themselves when they were called on to be part of the national team, but we are concerned about their consistent poor performance."
South Africa crashed out of the continental competition following a 3-1 defeat to Nigeria in their final group A clash at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday. They needed at least a draw to progress to the quarterfinals of the 16-nation competition.
Mbalula said on Monday: "What I saw there was not a problem of coaching, it was a bunch of losers, who don't have any respect for this country and don't have any respect for anybody."
Masuku said the ANCYL was aware of the players' talent and was convinced that with a bit of commitment, they should have been able to beat the Nigerian team.
"As South Africans, we can no longer accept mediocrity from anyone who is tasked with the responsibility of representing our country," Masuku said.
The ANCYL would continue to work with the SA Football Association to help the country produce the next generation of players, it said.
"We want to have gifted and talented players nurtured correctly, through various stages.
"We do believe that the time for a strategic focus on under-20s and under-23s is needed so as to avoid a series of embarrassments.
"We wish to call on all young people who are selected to represent our country in any sporting code to do so with sheer determination and show patriotism."
Mbalula was ANCYL leader from 2004 to 2008 before becoming deputy minister of police. In 2010 he was appointed minister of sport.