SAFA boss inspired by Zambia

2012-02-10 11:28

Johannesburg - SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani believes South Africa can learn from Zambia's impressive run in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Copper Bullets, who stunned Ghana 1-0 in the semi-finals in midweek, will contest AFCON honours with Côte d'Ivoire on Sunday.

And Nematandani feels Bafana Bafana could also scale such heights with better application.

"The commitment Zambia have shown here has been amazing," Nematandani told The Star.

"They've proven that if you are willing to take the challenge and work together as a team, you can achieve a lot. They don't have big-name stars, but they are a group of ordinary individuals prepared to get dirty for their country.

"They should be an inspiration for us because nearly half of their players play in our league and they are not among the best here. This should be a sign that if our boys are prepared to sweat it out, we can achieve big things."

Bafana, continental champions in 1996, have failed to qualify for the last two editions of CAF's flagship event.

Meanwhile, Nematandani says he welcomes FIFA's decision to investigate claims that friendlies in South Africa were fixed in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup.

This follows media-fueled doubts on the validity of Bafana's victories over Colombia (5-0) and Guatemala (2-1) in May 2010, two weeks before the World Cup. Earlier games against Bulgaria and Thailand are also under suspicion.

Nematandani said: "FIFA are investigating match-fixing worldwide. They are not investigating SAFA. And all we have to do is open the door for FIFA and co-operate with them.

"None of our people were aware of the problem when those matches under question took place. But the good thing is that when we started having doubts we acted by changing one of the referees for a match.

"As SAFA, we are against match-fixing and we put our referees through integrity tests, hence our officials are among the most respected," he concluded.


  • Bandile - 2012-02-10 11:35

    There he is reigning supreme at number 2............

  • Arthur - 2012-02-10 12:21

    Spot the mistake.. a relatively poor country without prima donnas in their side, without a corrupt governing body whose members have egos the size of small countries, showing a continental powerhouse how to do it. Eish!

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-02-11 08:13

      @arthur You are spot on. We have prima donna players, but worse is the bungling, corrupt, self enriching organisations that run soccer in this country. They have learned well from the ANC and , for that matter, FIFA

  • Nosiphom - 2012-02-10 12:24

    We spend more money than all the last four teams together, but we cannot even qualify. Let us see you guys disappoint the president who wants to see you in the finals in 2013.

  • Lebohang Bucibo - 2012-02-10 13:00

    South Africans are generally spoilt people with a greater sense of rights than obligatory competitiveness. Always outdone by nations with far less human resources and a small fraction of our GDP.

  • Elekanyani - 2012-02-10 13:50

    stupid Safa as always...doesn't he know that Zambia have qualified for the last 4 afcons?...We've failed to qualify in the last two and the previous two times we qualified, we can back with no win!!!!!!!!!

  • Welile Mtoba - 2012-02-10 14:22

    Kirsten needs to have minerals and fire Pitso,draws and losses against contries who have far less us is so belittling even worse having Pitso with the SAFA Excuse Band drumming it up.We will not achieve anything significant with him whilst he is the coach,praise Zambia and Taze Pitso for success.

  • Tabile - 2012-02-10 17:24

    Bring in a new coach that will not be controlled by pro-European player football agents, someone who is not ashamed of trying out young players and definitely with no big Ego!

  • Chaapo - 2012-02-10 17:37

    Stars should be stars because of what they have done on the field not because the press hypes them. That is the difference between Zambia's and SA's soccer players. Somehow there is an erroneous thinking that because SA is the continent's leading economy then it is the leading everything. That is what informs the attitudes towards the home team and the tendency to be condescending to others. It feeds the culture of entitlement that has been witnessed among the players and the fans alike. As for criticism of the coach, you can only be as good as the material you work with. Develop local talent from the little leagues up and you will find real talent there. Stop hyping mediocrity and making excuses for it.

  • Ruan Pretorius - 2012-02-11 01:19

    As a frequent traveller to Zambia, I must say that those players do it for the pride and priviliege to play for their country. A big name player in Zambia will earn +-R12000.00 (Twelve thousand Rand) per month. Compared to our local PSL heroes, that is a drop in the ocean. Enough said. Pride and privilege!

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