Johannesburg - There is a story about a certain tsotsi (township parlance for a rogue, a mischief-maker, a criminal or a bad element), which used to be told some time ago.
The story fell under the category of those tales known as jokes.
It went like this: On reaching the Pearly Gates, the tsotsi found people standing in a queue at a desk. On reaching the desk, each individual was given either a black or white card after a brief assessment.
From there, they formed another line to approach a wall that had two gates. St Peter stood between the two entrances and would usher people to either the gate on the right or left according to the colour of their card.
On noticing that most people who looked like him were directed to the left gate, the tsotsi, who had been given a black card, pick-pocketed the man in front of him, who had been a mfundisi (priest) on earth.
On reaching St Peter, the mfundisi was ushered to the gate on the left and the tsotsito the one on the right.
A few days later, Satan received a call from God and the conversation went as follows:
God: “Hey, how are things down there in hell?”
Satan: “It’s quite hot here, but that’s how hell is. However, I have a very strange fellow here who seems to be fire resistant. The fire here doesn’t seem to be able to burn him.”
God: “Actually, that’s one of the reasons I called. We have a chappie here who does not know a single hymn and can’t recite a single prayer.”
A decision was made to swap the two. No sooner had the tsotsi been thrown into hell, than the fire had a field day on him, while th emfundisi walked into heaven already singing the hymn that was being sung.
I’m reminded of this story because of the goings on ahead of the SA Football Association (SAFA) elections.
It would seem that some of those who are intent on removing Danny Jordaan as president at all costs have forgotten one thing - to familiarise themselves with the SAFA constitution.
Any organisation’s constitution is a sacrosanct document and anybody who wants to be in a leadership position there must familiarise themselves with it.
Trying to be the leader of an organisation with whose constitution you are not familiar is similar to trying to lead a Christian movement with no knowledge of the Bible, a Muslim sect without a full grasp of the Quran or vying for a Mormon leadership position without ever having touched the Book of Mormon.
Or is this how low South African football has sunk, that everyone thinks they can be parachuted into its leadership positions?
There are many double standards within South African football, not only in leadership positions, but also among followers of the sport.
One always hears complaints about the lack of development in the country. However, how many people follow junior players and teams from grassroots to national level?
Right now, the South African Under-17 Women’s football team - Bantwana - are on the verge of qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
They beat Morocco 5-1 in the first leg, before Saturday’s second leg away. How many South African football followers bothered to attend their match? The team had a farewell press conference this week. How many sports hacks bothered to attend and how many media houses reported on the gathering?
With our junior national teams - male and female - having made it a habit to qualify for global tournaments, shouldn’t supporters pack the stadiums when these teams play at home? Shouldn’t the SA Football Supporters’ Association be mobilising support for these teams?
Or are our supporters just happy to be armchair critics who always complain about development, but don’t want to attest to it by attending the matches of junior teams?
It is from these teams that players graduate to Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana and, having faced stiff opposition at international level, will have earned their spurs to form strong national teams.
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