S'Busiso Mseleku

No muti can make Bafana win

2012-06-27 13:30
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
The appointment of Bafana Bafana’s new coach is expected to take place on Saturday, and should spell a new dawn for the national team.

But please, don’t hold your breath. This is not a done deal as yet.

In an official statement released on Tuesday by SAFA, one could not help but be amused by the final line that read:  “SAFA will hold an NEC meeting on Saturday, June 30 where the new Bafana Bafana coach is expected to be announced.”

This gave the impression that even the big wigs at SAFA House are not sure whether the new coach will be announced at the meeting, or else why would they use a speculative word such as “expected” rather than give a straight forward report that “where the new Bafana Bafana coach WILL be announced?”

But anyway, that is SAFA being SAFA by consistently showing to be an indecisive organisation.

That there are many challenges facing the new coach has been said time and again.

Among them, is attitude. South African football needs to change a lot of things goings forward if we want to be taken seriously in world football.

One of these is our officials and players’ obsession with the use of muti or voodoo as it is called through the continent. This is not only South Africa’s problem, but Africa's at large.

The recent rigmarole about KwaZulu-Natal sangoma Sibonelo Madela who claimed to have bewitched Bafana not to score goals until SAFA paid him the R90 000 they owed him for his charms used before the 2010 Soccer World Cup match against France, is a case in point.

That SAFA - through vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana - even admitted to having dealt with this character, is a sad indictment on the organisation tasked with governing football in this country.

This is the kind of mambo-jumbo that no organisation with ambitions to be world-class should be involved in.

If we still believe that muti can make players better and win games rather than engaging modern development methods that have proved to be so effective the world over, we should rather close shop.

Just as Jomo “Troublemaker” Sono said in television interview ahead of the 1980 Mainstay Cup final between Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows which was later dubbed the “match of the decade”, if you took a bunch of 11 izinyanga (muti men) and pitted them against 11 schoolboys, the latter would run rings around their opponents.

If Madela’s stuff is so potent, why hasn’t he given it to one of the PSL clubs from his province? You have to go back to 1985 for the last club from KZN, Bush Bucks, that won the league title. Prior to that, it was AmaZulu in 1972.

Africa is well known for their belief in voodoo, but a look at the continent’s record shows that we have only had three countries - Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) - reaching the quarter-final stages of the World Cup.

If our stuff is so strong, how come we haven’t had an African country bamboozle their opponents with the use of muti and lift this prestigious cup contested by the top nations of the world?

The sooner we forget about wasting energy in such backwards beliefs, the sooner our football will move forward.

Talking of backward methods, one would not believe that a club as rich and respected as Mamelodi Sundowns would engage in such backward methods as to send their officials to Bloemfontein Celtic defender Mulomowandau Mathoho’s home to try and convince his parents that the player should sign for them!

This, while Kaizer Chiefs were negotiating with Celtic and the player’s agent for his signature.

One thought such methods belonged to the dark days of our football when clubs went to parents and convinced them how well - which was usually a lie - they would treat their child.

This approach is so 1960s and 1970s and one doesn't expect it from an outfit of Sundowns' calibre whose owner is one of the most respected businessman, not only in South Africa, but globally.

For the sake of progress in our football, such methods need to be dumped in the dustbin of history where they belong.

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.

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Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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