Mark Gleeson

Bafana spoilt brats of Africa

2011-10-17 13:11
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Mark Gleeson
A week on from the Bafana Bafana not reading-the-rulebook disaster and the South African Football Association still has its head firmly buried in the sand.

It is like they hope the storm over the country’s failure to qualify for the African Nations Cup finals will just pass over.

An indecisive week has cemented the impression SAFA is a long way from the professional organisation it says it aspires to be.

In the good times, they always talk a good name. There are getaways at which they plan; seminars where they learn to perfect and vision and documents designed to move the game up a notch.

The on ground delivery is a different story. SAFA has little dynamism, the agenda of most if its members is self-serving. Consequently the game has not grown, it has stagnated.

After last weekend and the lack of any decisive action, it will regress. SAFA has not handled the crisis with any dignity at all. Not much acumen either.

Instead of accepting responsibility, they sought to blame it on offers. Claiming the Confederation of African Football rules were unfair was a reactive action of folly. To try and ‘appeal’ or ‘protest’ the team’s elimination was stupidity of the highest order. The rules are pretty clear. South Africa only served to confirm the image of a spoilt brat the rest of the continent already has of the country. None has any sympathy with Bafana Bafana’s cause.

Do not expect any miracle change in the coming days. Coach Pitso Mosimane looks as if he might stay. But he will no longer have any credibility or enjoy any confidence. He has a Vision 2014 plan and is obviously desperate to hang around for the World Cup in Brazil. Desperate doesn’t do it at the top level.

What does is accountability and doing things the right way, not necessarily the easy way. It why the top nations are winners, the rest mediocre. SAFA said some time ago that it was seeking to strive for excellence. But plainly those words were hollow.

How disappointing this whole charade has been for those who hold the national team dear and see its success as critical to the development of the game in the country. How embarrassing a scenario.

Soon we will have to pick the team up again, set a new targets and there will be all the usual rubbish about learning lessons etc.

But real positive change will only come when soccer’s top brass seek to serve the game in the best way possible and accept they must make hard and unpopular decisions to get there.
Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

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.

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