Johannesburg - I’m just wondering! I am not Stevie, but I am wondering. Or will I be like Johnnie Walker and keep walking and wondering?
The events in the English Football Association the last few days might have happened miles away, but they hit close to home in South Africa.
Let me refresh the minds of those who are still wondering what I am on about. Everyone must be aware of the Sam Allardyce story by now – his tenure as England coach lasted only 67 days thanks to an undercover sting operation by a British newspaper.
The 61-year-old was allegedly caught on camera admitting that he knew how to bypass Fifa and Football Association rules on player transfers.
He was fired after the allegations surfaced and this made me wonder what would have happened had the incident involved one of our local coaches. Allardyce’s utterances really got me thinking: he described how players’ agents were “doing it all the time” because “you can still get around it ... the big money’s here”.
The paper, the Daily Telegraph, reported that eight more managers had been implicated. They must be sh**ting themselves, knowing the s**t is about to hit the fan. Brought closer to Mzansi, where a lot has been happening behind the scenes, this made me wonder how these things really happen in our football.
And if they were to be exposed, as in Allardyce’s case, what would happen? They all seem to be tainted. Our football needs to be cleansed and what is happening in the English Football Association should be done here.
How often have we heard of agents influencing coaches to pick their players? How many times have we heard allegations of players buying their places in starting line-ups? How about club bosses instructing coaches who to field?
As if that is not enough, we have also heard of club chairs ordering that certain players not be fielded, so as not to pay them bonuses or increase their salaries based on the number of matches played.
There are also allegations of clubs faking players’ signatures and extending their contracts. How many times have we heard stories of match officials being bribed to sway the outcome of games?
And what happens to the corrupters, the club officials? But the big question is: what happens to those caught in the act?
Nutting. Zilch. Lutho. Niks.
Not long ago, there was a story about a coach selling places in his team. The allegations were corroborated by the affected players, but the story died without any investigation being done. If indeed it was done, the outcome was never made public.
At a time when everything should be transparent, we still sweep things under the carpet. If our football is to grow, it is about time everything was done in the open for everyone to see and make their judgment. Unfortunately, some things are still taboo in our football and I wonder why.
If the priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in our football, those in power need to act decisively. But how do they provide leadership when some of them are tainted and involved in these shenanigans?
As much as allegations should be treated with caution, there is no smoke without fire. More often than not, the attitude here is: “Give it a few days...it will pass.” Which explains why there are no follow-ups. But this behaviour is not taking our football anywhere.
There are still clubs that sell tickets from the boots of cars, as seen last weekend in Atteridgeville, when Mamelodi Sundowns hosted Zesco United of Zambia in the CAF Champions League semifinal.
But Sundowns are not the only culprits. Most clubs also do that. Supporters, too, are to blame. Their culture of late arrival at stadiums is letting the game down. Most arrive just before kickoff, or when the game has already started and this cannot be condoned.
The sooner the league puts its foot down regarding using proper outlets for ticket sales, the better. It might take some time, but eventually the message will sink in. We cannot fold our arms while things are getting out of hand.
Had there been proper investigations into the allegations we hear about every day, I wonder how many here at home would have fallen on their swords, as Allardyce has done.
Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi