Compliments of the New Year and welcome back to our wonderful, loyal and supportive readers! We hope you had a great festive season, all things considered, and that most of us are back. 2020 was a terrible year for all of us and it brought a lot of pain, anguish and anxiety, but we hope for better things to come this time around.
Like I said in my previous column, the change is not going to come simply because the clock struck 00:00 on December 31; no, it will take a lot of effort, change of behavior and mindset from all of us to make 2021 a better year. With the low number of road accidents and fatalities, less gender-based violence and hospitalization statistics over the festive season, owing to the stringent Coronavirus lockdown regulations, it has become clear that we are capable of toeing the line and behaving well. Why do we have to be forced to do what is right? Does the government have to police our daily lives in order for us to finally get our act together in the fight against this pandemic? We have now regressed to Level 3 of the lockdown, when we looked to be on our way to defeating this deadly virus. We were so close to going back to the stadiums, but now, with Level 3 lockdown, we have an even longer road to go before we can actually experience live football at the stadium again. Talk about conceding an own goal and shooting ourselves in the foot with our own behaviour! All we needed to do was obey the rules, sanitize regularly, practice social distancing and wear our face masks all the time. Sounds very easy in theory.
Clearly there’s something we are not doing right as a collective and individually. That there had to be stricter regulations for us to record one of the safest festive seasons means we have a big drinking problem and the sooner we admit and deal with it, the better. The alcohol ban and the curfew played a significant role in the fewer road accidents. Had to government not imposed the lockdown regulations and curfew, trust me, more and more of our football supporters wouldn’t have made it past Christmas Day! Some would’ve been jailed, on top of those we have lost due to the pandemic. This is scary when you think about it! This virus has caused havoc, but it seems like some people have been living under a rock, somewhere, completely oblivious to the fight we have in our hands. The longer we show disrespect to this virus, the longer we are going to suffer. You’d think we’ve lost enough of our loved ones to realise the disastrous impact the pandemic has had, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. You lose a loved one, you cry, lay them to rest and move on, doing the same things you’d been doing before and expect the virus to be forgiving. We have to change and protect one another through good behaviour. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I have to remind you to please protect yourself and those around you from this virus by adhering to the stipulated safety measures. We will determine the extent of this virus’ impact, which simply means our lives are in our own hands. If you don’t care about your own life, be mindful of those around you who might get infected through your negligent behavior. A number of elderly people have perished through secondary infection, as their healthier and youthful kids and grandkids become the transporters of this virus into their homes through galivanting and neglecting the three main weapons we have against this virus: sanitizing regularly, keeping social distance and wearing a mask.
On a positive note, let me give credit where credit is due. Mamelodi Sundowns made headlines when they decided to look no further than Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena for the vacant head coaching job following the resignation of coach Pitso Mosimane to further his coaching career at Egypt’s Al Ahly. Not many people had faith in the coaching duo and when they recommended another coach in Steve Komphela to join them, all sorts of conspiracy theories started flying around. They were mocked and the expectation was that Sundowns would never be the same in the hands of the ‘untried and untested’ three musketeers. The individual roles of the trio were put under serious scrutiny. Coach Pitso’s absence would be the downfall of Sundowns, some said. When you look at how Manqoba, who has been assigned with the task of being the face and voice of the technical team, and his entire coaching staff handled the transition, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. No one has managed Sundowns in more trying times than they’ve had to endure in the past two months, but they’ve handled the situation with aplomb. So much for a technical team that was given almost no chance at all. This goes to show that just because people aren’t making noise doesn’t mean they can’t talk. It also shows that, just because people are good listeners doesn’t mean they can’t talk. The three wise men have walked the walk and talked the talk. All eyes have been on their technical area, with some impatiently waiting to see differing of opinions in full swing in public, but what we’ve been exposed to has been a smooth-sailing and conversational approach in the technical team. I’m sure even the players feel very comfortable knowing that the three coaches are singing from the same hymn book.
Here’s to hoping that we will take a leaf out of these three humble gentlemen’s book and realise that not everything black or local is of insignificance and that when three black locals are mandated, it isn’t always about infighting and sabotage. Some people can assume their assignments with humility and the responsibility that comes with it, knowing that the opportunity to serve is way bigger than them individually. To the three coaches, you’re not proving anyone wrong but doing your job and repaying the faith shown in you. May you keep on keeping on and thanks to Sundowns management for not overlooking you for this wonderful opportunity, when they could’ve easily travelled the length and breadth of the world in search of a more prominent coach, with his own technical team, to succeed coach Jingles. They decided to keep it proudly South African, with the hope that together and individually, the three coaches will follow in Jingles’ footsteps and break new grounds, breaking barriers.
In closing, I read with shock the news about the passing of legendary former Kaizer Chiefs captain, Johannes “Ryder” Mofokeng, on Saturday. You can’t really talk Chiefs and not mention the name of this legend, as he’s not only the longest-serving captain but an all-rounder who has done it all for the Naturena-based club. Condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, Kaizer Chiefs and the entire football fraternity. May his soul rest in peace.