Bafana Bafana

'Captain my captain' - but who is he?

2015-08-21 11:09
Shakes Mashaba (Supplied)

Captains in a soccer team are generally entrusted with a great deal less power than their counterparts in other sports like cricket, for example, because of the omnipotent role of coaches in making decisions - both on and off the pitch.

Nevertheless, there have despite the debilitating circumstances been some notable and influential captains in the realms of South African soccer and it would be churlish to minimise the role of the on-the-field leader to something akin to simply echoing orders emanating from his master's voice - namely the coach who appointed him in the first place.

Neil Tovey, the recently-appointed SAFA technical director who captained Bafana Bafana to the country's still solitary triumph in CAF's African Nations Cup competition in 1996, is one of such above-average leaders.

Ironically, Neil Tovey's older brother, Mark Tovey, who never represented South Africa because of the expulsion of the country from FIFA as a result of the draconian apartheid policy during his playing career - but like Neil captained Kaizer Chiefs with aplomb - was credited by many as being an even better leader than his younger brother.

But enough of this reminiscing into past history and concentrating instead on the somewhat eyebrow-raising policy of Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba to continue with his declared policy of rotating the position of team captain while he remains in charge of the national team.

Shakes revealed as much earlier this week when he announced his squad for the away 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier against Mauritania on September 5 without naming who will be the captain on the critical occasion.

Furthermore, Mashaba declared there were a whole host of players in his squad with the potential and capability to captain Bafana - and, in any case, it was beneficial to rotate the captain because it gave the various candidates the chance to demonstrate their leadership ability and was good for team spirit.

Mashaba's policy in this respect is unorthodox and even radical, but some will justify his approach by the fact that no one candidate for the job stands out clearly above the others.

Also, with a squad of diverse players, it may be a good idea to have someone from each segment occupying the post of captain at one time or other.

Mashaba may also feel that none of the forerunners in line to to be elevated to the captaincy are actually assured of their starting place in the line-up against Mauritania.

So while Dean Furman, who in the past has led Bafana with some credit and this week returned from a 20-year sojourn in England to join SuperSport United, has been widely described in most recent reports as "the Bafana captain", the unshakable Shakes is remaining mum on the issue.

Another previous Bafana captain, Chiefs goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, is back in the squad and experienced Belgium-based full-back Anele Ngcongca and Bidvest Wits University's Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo are others touted as  captains for forthcoming Nations Cup qualifiers and other games.

And, who knows, if Mashaba continues with his declared approach, they may all be wearing the captain's armband in the foreseeable future!

Read more on:    safa  |  bafana bafana  |  afcon 2017  |  psl  |  shakes mashaba  |  soccer


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