Bafana down among dead men

2012-06-10 12:01

Cape Town - A fresh confidence crisis has engulfed South Africa’s national soccer team, a situation that is seeing them slip at a rate of knots to ignominious status among the rats and mice of the game on our continent.

Their bankruptcy both in the results column and in cutting-edge performance in recent months was only underlined in Gaborone on Saturday as another set of cheeky, whole-hearted relative minnows - neighbouring Botswana, population two million - could not be subdued.

A second successive 1-1 draw against opponents ranked significantly below them in the African pecking order leaves the once-proud Bafana Bafana precariously placed with a miserly two points a third of the way through their Group A preliminary qualifying journey for Brazil 2014.

Rubbing shoulders with the potential likes of Messrs Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, Ozil and Van Persie at the next World Cup looks frighteningly unrealistic right now; there are no obvious signs that South Africa are about to transform magically from paupers to princes, are there?

The group was supposed to be a pretty undemanding one for them, possibly taking them without due fuss to the more demanding climax phase of African qualification for 2014.

Even the more tortured, weather-beaten of Bafana monitors of the past few years had seemed within their rights to assume that the team at least representing an African powerhouse in non-football terms would be able to winkle out home-and-away supremacy over Ethiopia, Botswana and the Central African Republic.

Starting with the Ethiopians at home and Botswana just up the proverbial drag in their own terrain, a roaring start was on the cards before the likely stiffest part of their programme: a home date with the “Wild Beasts” of the Central African Republic on March 22 next year and then follow-up return trip to the presumably unwelcoming tropical cauldron of Bangui on June 7.

Admittedly these are fairly distant challenges in calendar terms, which must be banked as some sort of blessing, but with such lamentable work achieved on building the supposed “cushion” on the table by then - Bafana really ought to sport four or six points by now, not two - there is going to be real pressure for them to achieve a very minimum requirement of winning one and drawing one of those games.

Anything less and the writing may well on the wall, even before the final two obligations (the Ethiopian away fixture on June 14 2013 and home tussle with Botswana’s Zebras on September 6).

Already you suspect that Bafana are going to have to hope this quartet somehow develops into a bit of a group of miserable death, with topsy-turvy results somehow keeping them in it to the very last round, rather than one team getting a major jump on the rest.

Perhaps the most perturbing aspect of Bafana’s performance on Saturday, even after the psychological comfort of Morgan Gould’s well-taken headed goal from a corner in the 14th minute, was how they only progressively receded instead of seizing control - especially in the second half where the Botswana defence was actually less consistently stretched than in the first.

In what basically amounts to a fairly meaningless crumb of comfort, South Africa really ought to have netted twice or three times before the break, which would have all but sapped Botswana’s spirit despite their securing of a goal themselves a morale-boosting seven minutes from half-time as hesitancy and jitters in the visiting rearguard was exploited.

Instead the wasteful or indecisive shooting of Siphiwe Tshabalala, Katlego Mphela and much later on substitute Teko Modise - who ballooned a good chance to bury the tie laughably high and wildly - from smart set-up work ultimately cost Bafana dearly, whatever you may say about the bumpiness of the pitch.

You could almost see the face of caretaker coach Steve Komphela sag like a slowly dropping petrol gauge as the game wore on.

After all, although there is a certain naivety and immorality to judging a man on one performance, he will have quietly known that his charges’ very failure to win this one will - either consciously or subconsciously among those judging him - have only adversely affected his own crack at securing the post more permanently.

If Gordon Igesund indeed feels he genuinely has the stomach to take on this portfolio, his own shares must have risen appreciably with this latest boo-boo across the border ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing



  • Kolobe - 2012-06-10 12:09

    why is pinaar the captain when at international level he is a flop?

      Rob - 2012-06-10 12:12

      The WHOLE of Bafana is a flop @ international level. Lol...Unable to win against african countries. Disgraceful !!!!!

      leedsunitedfc - 2012-06-10 12:30

      I wouldn't say a flop. The guy has an ego. When hes a small fish in a big pond in England, he plays and shuts up. When he's got the SA shirt on he doesn't stop complaining and talking instead of focussing on the football. He needs to keep quiet and play for the team. That entire team is ego filled. It's delusional considering most of them are average players.

      Squeegee - 2012-06-10 13:01

      I wish this was different. I long for those heady days when Bafana won the Africa Cup. I'm not the greatest soccer fan, but I am a SA fan. I wish soccer could get rid of the politicians and the greedy and get back to producing the kind of soccer that we can. Sport unites - but only when you win.

      Fussed - 2012-06-10 14:07

      Socca team just like the gov USLESS

      Abby - 2012-06-10 18:07

      Bring back our skipper Aaron Mokoena and of course Benny.

      Franklyn - 2012-06-10 23:17

      I reckon the clubs need exposure to stronger opposition more regularly,we need a strong coach who is prepared to take on the primma-donnas, and the showoffs need to get weeded out

  • Harley - 2012-06-10 12:11

    quite possibly Bafana Bafana might be under the impression that they will get an AA and BEE ticket to the world cup and don't actually need to apply themselves, Just wondering

      peter.tony.14 - 2012-06-10 15:19

      Mmmm, I can see the day that they DEEMAAND smaller goal posts for their goalie and larger ones for the opposition!

      sean.looney - 2012-06-10 22:03

      there's always at least 1 BEE or AA dig in every article. grow up.

  • Dean - 2012-06-10 12:13

    Benny please my bro go and report for duty at bafana ek sal jo betaal my bru doenit virri Park en Jou land. Daai safa kanni bill vir my stuur. Help ons net om the kwalify my bra. Laati poppe dans my bro!!

  • George - 2012-06-10 12:18

    Is this another lot of ANC deployed Cadres ??? USELESS !

      Fussed - 2012-06-10 14:06

      Fire the witchdoctor or employ more at double the price

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-06-10 12:18

    SA soccer is a joke. There is no transformation there, no representation of all South Africans, maybe that's why the team is so useless??? The ONLY reason we qualified in 2010 was because we were hosting the tournament, but otherwise, would would never have qualified. We were the only host nation not to make the super 16 playoffs, in HISTORY !!! SA soccer players don't have the aggression, flair, or skill to compete with the world's best. FACT !!!

      Hugo - 2012-06-10 12:31

      shut up you racist ignorant christian,you obviously dont like our time so why bother?stick to rugby you KKK ignoramus,disguting individual.

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-06-10 13:11

      lol, true much truth for you to handle?

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2012-06-10 14:05

      It's true, look at the sport that's controlled by blacks only and look at the one's sharing a culture. All the they are interested is the money. They feel the F@ck for the sport!!

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-06-10 14:46

      Of course, but if someone's deleting your posts, then I've got nothing to do with that. but fire away, maybe tone it down a bit if it's too controversial

      peter.tony.14 - 2012-06-10 15:24

      @ HugoMabasa No we don't like "your" time. Its been quite a disappointment really. Everything "your" people touches seems to, well, flop. "Your" people are worse off than before, "your" people have killed more people since 1994 that during the entire Apartheid regime - I could go on, but yes, we don't like "your" time.

      kndobe - 2012-06-10 15:44

      @Peter&Hugo, I wish people like you would just disappear from this earth so that we could all live in peace and in harmony but we all know that is far from possible anyway. I happen to like both sports but we have to agree Bafana is an embarrasment nowadays

      daniel.malan3 - 2012-06-10 23:48

      @Jose - I think the problem is at school level. I love rugby and football but with my body structure I'm the right frame for football. I would have been ecstatic if I could play football at school level but sadly they don't care, I'm not sure if I would have made the team haha but my point is, they should spread the sport in SA the same as they are doing with rugby and cricket, they should get all people involved and in that way get them to be interested in it

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-06-10 12:19

    I'd love for them to qualify, but they have to earn it like any other team. If they continue playing like kids, they should rightfully stay at home.

  • Mkulisi - 2012-06-10 12:22

    Arghh! maybe its good thing we dont qaulify, save us from humilation in brazil

  • Luvo - 2012-06-10 12:33

    I have previoulsy mentioned that the Bafana boys can't be confused with world-beaters as they are from that mark. We jumped with joy when it was mentioned that to qualify for the WC spot they have to go through teams like Ethiopia, Botswana and Central African Republic. Oh my if we can't make it in that group then the boys should stop competing then.

  • chris.booise - 2012-06-10 12:34

    They would in case have not qualified for the 2010 world cup, but lucky for them they were the host.

  • - 2012-06-10 12:36

    A coach in the mould of Guus Hiddink is what we need now, someone to turn this around. We often seem to dominate opponents, even those ranked significantly higher, in terms of ball possession yet have no killer instinct to win matches. There's no direction in attack. A top quality international coach would change that.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-06-10 13:47

      Or maybe finally give the most successful coach in SA history, Gordon Igesund, a chance.

      colin.dovey - 2012-06-10 14:32

      @Matthew - I agree - why has everybody, especially SAFA, just avoided LOCAL talent - Gordon Igesund has been a stand out, obvious choice for YEARS....he uses unusual coaching and fitness routines, including swimming sessions....and that is why every team he has coached...the last FIVE, have come back from close to relegation, or to the top or close there.....He should have taken over from Clive Barker after his success at Afcon. SAFA take your blinkers off - WE, the public can all see it...but not you?

  • johan.maree.5036 - 2012-06-10 12:40

    There might be something else that is wrong with Bafana. Those guys will most likely not be there if they had no talent, so we can safely assume the players skills aren't our biggest problem, let's explore this more... In sport there is a lot of truth to the saying, "you are only as good as you think you are!" If you are in a bad place mentally, your game will probably reflect that. Maybe we should get some head doctors to work with the team, I'm just saying... A good coach can't hurt either...

      colin.dovey - 2012-06-10 14:48

      They need some very specialised coaching skills.....along the lines of what they did with Bryan Habana...hand-eye coordination - that is why, in my opinion, we have not got a standout striker. Another aspect is mental coaching....brainwave entrainment and meditation could be a major factor in getting their INNER motivation right. They DO have the talent, but somebody needs to come from an unusual, but effective angle.

      peter.tony.14 - 2012-06-10 15:27

      Xavier, Hand eye coordination? Are you kidding? ;)

      colin.dovey - 2012-06-10 17:05

      @peter.tony - not sure if you were being facetious, or just kidding. Obviously, in Soccer it would be other skills....the Rugby one is just a simple example.....not rocket science to connect the dots of what I was saying.

  • nare.ledwaba - 2012-06-10 12:50

    we need a new team the whole squad and start afresh

      Abby - 2012-06-10 18:12

      Pitso made a mistake by discarding Aaron Mokoena, Pienaar don't show leadership on and off the field. He has clashed with the law of late.

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-06-10 23:30

      So now Pienaar is at fault Abby? How many other captains were there and did they qualify for major competitions? No they failed every time. Pienaar is the best player in the squad a brilliant player for Everton (Clearly you don't watch when the man plays in Europe). At home he must play with a bunch of clowns who in the form of BaBEE BaBEE can't play soccer. Keep on following SA soccer, I've got much better games to watch tanx to DSTV.

  • ziggamann.shepard - 2012-06-10 12:53

    Our team looks very weak compared to other African and international teams.Just look at other international competitions on the go at the moment. They have raised their standards after the world cup of 2010. We have gone backwards. Perhaps its time to stop playing international football to allow us to grow our players. Lets stop setting ourselves up for failure at big competitions. It will also eliminate the requirement for big spending on coaches who cant turn players into world class overnight.

  • Ian - 2012-06-10 12:58

    It's time we starting investing in the lower leagues instead of the top 5 clubs (all the time). Look at the average crowd attendence for each of the teams in the premier and it should tell all. The PSL is not run as a business, it is run to line the pockets of a few (the mafia 5) and nothing else. I remember playing lower league in the UK and we used to have in the region of 400 - 500 every weekend. And this was football just above pub level. If we cannot invest in junior levels I'm afraid Bafana Bafana are going nowhere!

      Rob - 2012-06-10 14:52

      Lol...In South Africa, we probably have 25-28 year olds playing for the Under 23's. Likewise with the under 15's & under 19's. Wonder how many of these are over age ?

  • Glyn - 2012-06-10 13:16

    The walking dead!

  • braamc - 2012-06-10 13:17

    Doesn't even help through money at the problem. Plain simple useless!

      Koos - 2012-06-10 15:33

      Yip, money, BEE or AA is not going to help these clowns.

  • Steven Trollip - 2012-06-10 13:19


  • Atisang - 2012-06-10 13:21

    We need the quota system in bafana white guys would play their heart out even if they were loosin 3- 0

      Jay - 2012-06-10 15:45

      Agree with u completely bro!!! The whites in S.A originate from germany, holland, portugal, england, italy,france just to name a few. All top ten ranked fifa nations in the world! When we were 16th in the world we had 3-4 whiteys in the team!!(Tinkler,batchelor,tovey,fish) Now only black guys in bafanna and we suck!! I can't even watch these idiots pathetic football! Bring on the quota system now!!!

      fdalana - 2012-06-10 20:56

      i agree with you.talented white players are there in the psl (eg micheal morton from maritzburg united).he gives 100percent every game.according to me,he is a big club material and that is why we need qoutas in soccer as well.

  • Ashmolsan3 - 2012-06-10 13:54

    Gordon don't be scared to make changes, Khune, Tshabalala, Manyisa, Mphela aren't Bafana material

  • ntemi.mark - 2012-06-10 15:22

    so long they hiring local coach bafana go no where,l'm not disrespecting the local coaches,they good but bafana 2meet the international standard they absolutely need 2look abroad,

  • matvee111 - 2012-06-10 15:48

    I believe Bafana will qualify for 2014 just as I believe I can sprout wings and fly away...

  • matvee111 - 2012-06-10 15:49

    I believe Bafana will qualify for 2014 just as I believe I can sprout wings and fly away...

  • nickwill.reen - 2012-06-10 16:09

    Is sad dat die solution vir Bafana n racial issue is!

  • david.mphako - 2012-06-10 16:13

    I must say blame the big two who are claiming to be doing a lot for SA soccer but bying each an every player that proves to be doing well in the league. And thanks to the billions sponsor they received from Vodacom because they will continue on the same trend,. buy, buy and buy and thereafter no competition in the league and other teams making numbers as usual. At the end, poor crappy football we are exposed to on daily basis

  • mapudieric.morakiwamachacha - 2012-06-10 16:19

    guys white players r nt even 10 in de psl bt far way less than dat, whch 1s r u talking abt whom u argue xud be selected? Anyway bafana is nthng bt a bunch of clowns, sies!!!

  • kndobe - 2012-06-10 16:33

    Every team is blessed with good generation of players once in a while and for us this was back in 94 to early 2000, i laugh when people compare us to the Springboks because this is like comparing us to Germany who are the second most successful nation in football behind Brazil. The Boks just like New Zealand are the 2 top nations in rugby and then you get the rest who are average like england, france, wales etc. In SA rugby the talent is always there just like there will always be a pool of talent in new zealand (brazil and germany) and the success always depends on how the talent is managed. Bafana on the other side has not always had talent to choose from and we have struggled since we lost the talent of 94 and have never been able to recover since although there has been signs of promise. How many good rugby playing nations can you count and how many good soccer playing nationss are there? plenty in soccer and maybe 5 or six in rugby and cricket?? Soccer is big and rugby is just not as big enough and yet we have done better than most nations and look at how we played againts Spain and Brazil and even the brazil players cried when they beat us here at the Confed cup.

  • shokile - 2012-06-11 09:37

    South African football is going nowhere! Why is our coach playing Itumeleng KhuNE?The guy is a flop! KHUNE AND MPHELA should go and I think it's time Benni come into play. We are sick and tired of seeing Sundowns and Chiefs players dominating in the squad.

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