Johannesburg - According to the Oxford dictionary, communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium.
Sadly, a communication breakdown has led us to where we are today.
Golden Arrows lost crucial points because of it and Rhulani Mokwena missed out on the opportunity to gain invaluable experience with Bafana Bafana because of it.
It boggles my mind that the SA Football Association (Safa) could send a call-up letter to a club for players, but not include their coach.
If we need proof that we are a nation of bad communicators, the two examples above are good enough.
What is clear in our football is that most of us lack this most important tool in our dealings. While there are many available channels of communication, we often find ourselves failing to transfer information properly or adequately.
Two things that happened this week lead me to believe we are ineffective communicators.
Somebody at Safa failed to inform Orlando Pirates about Mokwena’s call-up to the national team. This resulted in the highly rated young coach not accompanying the team to the Four Nations tournament in Zambia.
What should have been a simple issue to deal with resulted in accusations being levelled against Safa.
But to deny him the chance to join the team was uncalled for. I think Pirates were just flexing their muscles more than anything else. The argument that his focus should be on the upcoming league matches is nonsensical, to say the least.
After being knocked out of the Nedbank Cup, Pirates have at least a two and half week break before their next league game against Bloemfontein Celtic on April 1.
Going to Zambia was going to benefit Pirates more than the national team.
With Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga in the Zambian team, Marshall Munetsi in the Zimbabwean team, and Innocent Maela and Thembinkosi Lorch in Bafana Bafana, this would have been the perfect opportunity for Mokwena to interact with his players at another level.
He could have had discussions with his counterparts from other countries on how to best utilise the players, and the Buccaneers were going to be the winners.
But, alas, it was not to be.
Thando Ndzandzeka’s costly mistake also cannot go unnoticed.
Let me declare my love and allegiance to match officials from the onset. In fact, most of them are my friends and we get along very well. But my friends know that I won’t let them get away with murder and will be the first one to flag them when they are offside. What happened last weekend at Princess Magogo Stadium was proof that, even with every communication tool at our disposal, we still play broken telephone.
Match officials have been equipped with communication gadgets to convey messages and decisions quickly and to minimise wrong calls.
The tools were introduced to alleviate time-wasting and the many stop-and-goes that matches were subjected to.
Today, Ndzandzeka finds himself with egg on his face after wrongly sending off Limbikani Mzava in a case of mistaken identity in the game between Golden Arrows and Pirates. The card was rescinded after he admitted his mistake.
However, in his lame apology, Ndzandzeka pointed out that things would have been different had he had an experienced assistant.
My question is: With all four match officials – two assistants, a referee and a fourth official – mounted with gadgets, how could no one have spotted the mistake?
As much as he has to take responsibility for his action as captain of the ship, they work as a team and all of them are guilty.
For him to say this would not have happened if there was an experienced assistant is shifting the blame.
There is also the issue of fair play. Pirates players contributed to Mzava’s sending off when they pointed him out.
What about the guilty party, Mzwandile Buthelezi, who failed to own up and let the referee know he was the offender?
I bet he was not going to win judging by how Ndzandzeka was hell-bent on getting Mzava off the field. Arrows’ bench tried to reason with him and point out the guilty party, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The problem is that referees think they are untouchable.
Now, Arrows have lost three crucial points. I’m not saying they would have won the game if Mzava had not been sent off, but maybe they would have forced a draw and earned a point – maybe.
Is there a recourse for Arrows? Nothing!Yet we call this a fair game – even when we can’t communicate.
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