S'Busiso Mseleku

Banyana save the day for bungling SAFA

2015-10-19 11:24
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Once more, Banyana Banyana - the SA women's senior soccer team - has made the country proud by qualifying for next year's Olympic Games to be held in Rio, Brazil.

Much as the girls did it the hard way, after playing to a goalless draw at home and winning 1-0 in front of a hostile crowd away, they showed great character.

The win could not have come at a better time for the suits at the SAFA House.

They had just gone through a horrid week following the bungling of Bafana Bafana's tour of Central America, where they beat Costa Rica 1-0 and fashioned a 0-0 draw against Honduras.

So bad were the travel arrangements (if one can use the word arrangement at all) that first, they had to be altered when the team was already at the OR Tambo International Airport, as someone had forgotten to arrange transit visas for the US and the team ended up travelling through Brazil.

But no one caught a wake-up call even then, and the players were stranded in Honduras after their match last Thursday.

This caused so much chaos that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had to postpone four Absa Premiership matches scheduled for this week.

Now, that's a disaster of humongous proportions!

The PSL fixtures are drawn way before the season even starts. A lot of preparation goes into staging a PSL match. That involves television (live and recorded), radio broadcasts and sponsors also have programmes around soccer matches.

Not forgetting fans who have to plan their travels and other arrangements way before the date of  the match.

We come from a past where SAFA and the PSL seemed bent to show each other as bad.

I mean, there was a time when one would have sworn that      

the two organisations spent their entire time trying to show which one was the worse between them.

But lately, a cordial spirit has existed and  the Joint Liaison Committee seemed to be doing a sterling job.

I mean, the PSL has even shifted some fixtures later this year to open a gap that will allow the SA Under-23 the chance to participate unhindered by the availability of players at the African Olympic Qualifiers in Senegal.

If this does not prove an existence of a cordial relationship between the mother body and their special member, nothing will.

So it is incumbent on SAFA that they play their role in ensuring that this brittle relationship, grows even stronger.

We all know how ugly the club vs country saga has tended to be in the past.

We don't want  that!

The South African national teams are doing quite well internationally, qualifying for international events for a change.
The SA Under-17 team is at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile as we speak.

This success of national teams is partly thanks to the PSL playing their role as well as SAFA getting their ducks properly in a row.

Just for Sunday's Banyana Banyana's Olympic qualifier,

SAFA chartered a flight to make the girls' travel so easy, comfortable and bearable. And just look at the result!

Why they couldn't be as efficient with Bafana's travel arrangements, beats logic.

SAFA must just say never again!

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.

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  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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