South-Africa

SAFA's Vision 2022 - another blurred image

2017-03-13 13:54
SAFA logo (File)
Cape Town - It was the wise, old Greek sage Agamemnon who in 458 BC made the astute and candid comment that "the future you shall know when it comes."

It is not advice that SAFA tends to heed, preferring instead to look into a crystal ball of optimism and espouse visions of future success and glory emanating from current, but over-emphasised achievements.

Take, for example, the recently completed CAF under-20 Nations Cup from which South Africa qualified for the FIFA under-20 World Cup tournament that will be staged in South Korea in May.

Amajita, as the South African under-20 team are known, achieved this undeniably admirable honour by virtue of emerging as one of the four semi-finalists in the tournament in Zambia, albeit finishing second in their earlier round-robin group.

And, in characteristic fashion, what is surely only the first sturdy step up the ladder of success in South Korea was hailed as a triumph in its own right - one commentator even proclaiming that the performance of the Amajita players had justified SAFA's optimistic prediction for Bafana Bafana not only qualifying for the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar, but making it to the quarter-finals or even semi-finals of world soccer's premier event.

Wishful thinking, it would seem, or only bland ignorance.

A degree of sombre rationality returned after  Amajita went down to hosts Zambia in the semi-finals of the under-20 CAF Cup, with the naïve optimists finding themselves hurtling back to earth when South Africa went down 2-1 to Guinea-Bissau in the consequent match-up for third place.

In its own right, Amajita should still be praised, but with reservations, for making it to South Korea.

But Amajita's true mettle will only be evaluated once they arrive in Asia and compete against the top under-20 teams in the world - taking into account also that a number of what are considered Africa's leading under-20 soccer nations did not take part in the Zambia tournament.

As for the current Amajita side providing the backbone for a successful Bafana campaign at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it is more than a little premature to say the least.
In any case, those at the helm of South African soccer should be focusing at this time on the 2018 World Cup and making it to Russia - a basic prerequisite of Vision 2022 in any case - and not harp incessantly on the distant future.

And, with this in mind, the sooner SAFA straightens out the mumbo jumbo surrounding the appointment of the Bafana coach the better.

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