Mark Gleeson

SA football dogged by mindless vitriol

2015-08-14 14:59
Mark Gleeson (Gallo Images)

A lot of the discourse, on forums and a social media, about South African football is packed with mindless vitriol and intellectually barren generalisations. Rarely are any worthy points made amid the name-calling and childish baiting.

Rare too is a debate with a wide ranging command of comment from across a wide spectrum of the game’s personalities, so it has been refreshing to follow the passion and vigour with which the performance of Masibusane Zongo last Saturday has been analysed.

It started, straight after the game, with opposing coach Pitso Mosimane disputing the awarding of the man of the match award to the Platinum Stars winger.

Mosimane, despite all that he has been accused of since, did not criticise the showboating of the player but, rather, made the point that his antics, while thrilling most of the crowd and TV viewers, made little impact on the game and therefore did not qualify him to be called the best player of the game.

The flashy passes and switchbacks of the controversy-dogged Zongo have polarised some heavyweight opinion.

Doctor Khumalo, who was something of a show boater himself in his playing day, seems to think it all is now a fairly pointless exercise.

“Times have changed,” he told reporters this week, “there is a danger we won’t develop intelligent players”.

Others like Jomo Sono loved it. I was there on Monday night when he talked about his own time “standing on the ball, not only here in South Africa but when I played in New York”. He was all for Zongo being given a free license to perform his tricks and enthral crowds.

Columnists have also waded in on both sides of the argument, some with astute observations. Rodney Reiners, a former professional, wrote a brilliant piece on the issue in the Cape newspapers.

The merits, or demerits, of show boating, and its place, in the local footballing psyche has produced a healthy argument that deals with questions of culture and history, of perception, and offers ideas about how to play the game.

Intellectual debate about something people hold dear is vital for the development of the game and can only be considered a positive - never mid which side of the argument you stand on.

Hopefully it will take over from the idiocy, malice and derogatory exchanges that dominate these. Football fans must feel free to contribute their voice but do so with the good of the game in mind and seek to offer solutions rather than just sling stinky mud. That’s best left to kids in the playground.

Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: 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.

Read more on:    safa  |  psl  |  mark gleeson  |  soccer
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