S'Busiso Mseleku

Bafana fans would love a goal

2013-01-21 13:51
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Early this week, I had one of those moments where you don’t know whether to burst out laughing or do the opposite, burst out crying.

The source of my mixed emotions was none other than South Africa’s No 1 goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune.

GALLERY: AFCON Opening Ceremony

GALLERY: Bafana Bafana v Cape Verde

In an interview with the media following a training session, Khune said: “Most of the teams coming to play Bafana are well organised. They know Bafana are deadly in front of goal and they have been better at defending than we have been going forward.”

Bafana deadly in front of goal My foot!

Khune must have smoked something - maybe his socks - to come up with such balderdash.

The last time I checked, Bafana were the most impotent strike-force in the world.

The public has even come to accept that failure to score goals is South African soccer’s main Achilles heel.

Bafana have scored a mere 11 goals in their last 11 matches. This is an average of one goal per match and that includes the 3-0 victory over Gabon, 3-1 success against Malawi and 2-0 scoreline over The Mambas of Mozambique.

An interesting fact is that all these three countries did NOT qualify for the 29th Africa Cup of Nations being hosted here. This then shows that Bafana struggle against quality opposition as they recently showed in their last two qualifying games prior to the AFCON kick-off, a 1-0 defeat to Norway and a goalless draw against Algeria, who are ranked second in Africa after The Elephants of Ivory Coast.

So, maybe what Khune meant, was that Bafana are dead in front of goals.

Maybe he was prophesying what they will do in the remainder of the tournament. One hopes that is the case.

When President Jacob Zuma visited the team this week, he gave them very sound advice when he told them not to rely on “intelezi” – muti – or luck, but hard work.

He told them to work as a team and that there must be unity among the squad.

However, a prophet who was a guest in Robert Marawa’s Metro FM 083Sports@6 said there was no unity in the team.

He said while the coach is good and has selected the right players for the tournament, the players tended to play for themselves.

With a number of scouts from different parts of the world set to descend on our shores for this tournament, players are bound to be driven by selfish reasons and play as individuals rather than a team.

Should this happen, it will not be to the detriment of the team only, but the entire country.

Bafana need to rise to the occasion and make us proud.

Time has come for the team to deliver. Gordon Igesund must stop complaining about the lack of time he has had with the team. He knew all this when he took up the job and accepted the mandate from his employers, SAFA, that he should at least reach the semi-finals.

Actually, no national team coach has the luxury of time and that’s the nature of the job. National team players are supposed to be finished product and the coach is not supposed to teach them basics such as trapping the ball, shooting and passing.

No! All the national coach is supposed to do is to select the best players for each position and work at getting them to work as a unit.

Just like a symphony orchestra conductor who doesn’t teach the musicians how to player their instruments but gets them to produce a sweet melody in unison.

So go ahead Gordon, just make those Bafana dance on the field and give us goals.

We need some sunshine to cast away the gloom that has been hanging over our football for such a long time.

But should Bafana fail us once more, I will have to join in the joke doing rounds and be like President Zuma who is quoted saying “I hope the AFCON will be won by an African team.”

I share his sentiments … lol!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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:    bafana bafana  |  afcon  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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