Cape Town - It was hailed
on its launch by SAFA a couple of years ago as the panacea for the ailments of
South African soccer.
the "2022 Vision" gimmick, trumpeted by SAFA president Danny Jordaan
in particular, achieved was to blind South African soccer's administration to
the urgent issues pertaining in 2017 in general and qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals in particular.
devise a programme for South African soccer to reach a respected international
level by 2022 when such a status had already been reached as far back as 1996
when the African Nations Cup was won and Soccer World Cup qualification had been
reached in both 1998 and 2002?
And now with
the usual, hysterical, if often unbalanced "blame game" pursued at
full speed after Bafana Bafana's dismal results while finishing bottom of the
four-team qualifying group, it is SAFA, in the first instance, who stand
culpable for the catastrophic failure to make it to Russia next year.
themselves for relatively minor achievements linked for no good reason to the
distant "2022 Vision", SAFA dithered for six months after the stormy
dismissal of Shakes Mashaba as Bafana coach towards the end of last year,
before eventually coming up with the urbane and well-intentioned Stuart Baxter.
With World Cup
qualification on the horizon and an urgent plan to achieve this paramount issue clearly the priority, SAFA
should have come up with a new permanent coach within a month - no matter what
the merits of firing Mashaba at that juncture.
Instead Owen de
Gama, who had done a good job as Bafana's assistant coach and had as good an
idea of Bafana players as anyone, was delegated the job of caretaker
coach while finding himself between the devil and the deep blue sea and
apparently not even regarded a candidate for the position on a permanent basis.
If the dedicated
Baxter was SAFA's choice, he should have been made the Bafana coach a good four
months earlier, remembering, of course, that after his appointment he still
continued bizarrely as a dual coach while at the helm of SuperSport United for a further two months.
Critics who might
fit the bill of the wise old sage who labelled them "the people who
come out of the hills to shoot the wounded after the battle," are now
But, in the circumstances, this is surely unkind to
someone who knows his profession well and had only a minimum of time to put his
ideas into practice and gain a more comprehensive knowledge of all the various
Next to SAFA, blame should be apportioned to many of the
players, who apart for their undoubted skill and potential are still blighted
with a degree of immaturity and essential ability to perform in the soccer
kitchen when the heat is on.
No one exhibited
these shortcomings and lack of loyalty
more than Thulani Serero who made the astounding demand to Baxter to be
included in the starting line-up in the last-ditch games against Senegal - otherwise he would not make himself
available for the squad.
With a degree of
paradoxical irony, some have suggested that the shock Bafana victory
against Nigeria in an African Nations Cup qualifier soon after Baxter took
over, actually did more harm than good insofar as World Cup qualification was
It tended to
magnify an element of complacency in the entire Bafana camp before the games against the modest Cape Verde
Islands, with the two losses in those games effectively the final nails in South
Africa's World Cup coffin.
But, on the other
side of the coin in what has manifested itself into a gloomy picture, is that
if the referee cheated in helping Bafana beat Senegal in what was the replayed
game against "The Lions of Teranga" it was a jarring blow not of the
Bafana were also palpably unlucky when they outplayed
Senegal for much of the replayed match and produced a polished performance
in the win over Burkina Faso.
But planning and producing disciplined, professional and
inventive performances on a consistent basis should have been the target now - not in 2022!