This week’s DoRego’s revolving blog features Edward ‘Magents’ Motale, Bafana Bafana legend!
We’ll Beat Cape Verde!
I have seen some positives from Bafana Bafana's recent friendlies, even though the results weren’t positive. But at least playing-wise and in terms of tactical discipline, I was impressed. We don’t know Gordon Igesund’s best eleven for now because he’s been playing different patterns and different players in these friendlies. I’m happy because we are attacking more.
We created a number of chances and we kept the ball well, as the statistics show. You look at the corner kicks we had last weekend...we had about seven of them as well as 12 shots at goal. That’s a positive sign. My only worry is that we aren’t scoring. We aren’t utilising our chances because it’s good to create chances but if you don’t score, that’s another story. We really need to give proper attention to this problem. No, it’s got nothing to do with the pattern. In my opinion, it’s got to do with individuals. Who is missing the chances? It’s the players! We are playing more of a 4-5-1 and everybody has had a chance to score. Katlego Mphela was in the box and missed, Tokelo Rantie was in the box and missed, so it’s not about the system. We should have beaten Algeria. We seemed to have dropped our pace compared to the Norway game. I don’t know what the technical team told the players. Maybe they told them to be cautious and not to lose two in a row, as people would criticise them and start not believing in them.
Let’s not worry about the squad selected, because there’s nothing that will ever satisfy people. Let’s not entertain the negative talk. This is the best we’ve got! The only thing I’m not sure about is the fitness of a few individuals who were coming back from injury. I’m talking about players like Tsepo Masilela, Mphela and Kagisho Dikgacoi. You can see they’re still struggling a bit. But we’ve got a good squad. You must remember that here in South Africa you can pick your best 20 players with your eyes closed. I know people will never be satisfied, as everyone will want to have their favourites picked.
I watched Cape Verde when they played a friendly game against Nigeria recently and I wasn’t convinced. I bet my bottom dollar before the game has even started that we’ve already beaten them! No, they are a weak side. It’s very, very important that we win this game so that we get the confidence back from the players and the supporters. It’s a must-win game, but I’m sure...sure, sure, sure that Cape Verde won’t beat South Africa. Not the Cape Verde that I saw playing! I don’t think they can change overnight. The way they were playing, there’s no way they will change overnight just because they are playing against South Africa.
If we can get three points from Cape Verde and then get a draw against Morocco, anything can happen against Angola. We can draw with or beat Angola! They are energetic, but we can compete against them. The only team that gives me a scare is Morocco because they are very tactical and they have the most experienced players in this group. All I’m trying to say is that we will go to the next round.
The way I’ve been looking at the South African players, they all have the passion to win. They all want to do well for the country and themselves. You must remember that for some of the players this is a stepping stone to go overseas, as there will be scouts. They’re giving 120% effort and I’m not sure if, by singling out one or two players, I’d be doing justice. Guys like Itumeleng Khune, Thabo Matlaba, May Mahlangu and Thulani Serero are giving their all. The only thing I can tell them is that the other countries that have come here have nothing to lose, while we have a big burden on our shoulders. But our boys mustn’t panic. They have the advantage of the crowd behind them, the grounds and the atmosphere. They’ve got everything! We’ve got the advantage – it’s our atmosphere, our soil, our crowd.
There’s a Zulu saying that says if you attack a snake where it stays, it can overpower you. They are hunting us and we need to show them ukuthi (that), ‘Lalelani (Listen), you are taking a chance. This is my house, I know where my weapons are hidden and where I can run to if you run after me. You can’t catch me!’ That’s the advantage I’m talking about.
We know National Stadium more than anybody, we know Mbombela Stadium more than anybody, we know Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium more than anybody! We need to utilise that advantage, and the crowd is our 12th player.
Let’s forget about being sissies. Let’s stop this thing of complaining and criticising. We must just go out and buy tickets, support our boys and push them to the limit. If they fail, it’s fine. This is a game. We’ll come back and rectify our mistakes in the World Cup. I know we South Africans like quick-fixes. We like putting superglue on a worn-out shoe so that we can wear that shoe now. We can’t wait! But good things come to those who wait. I want to emphasise it in this column that let’s not be sissies. We are good at criticising, but when it comes to support, nothing! Even I used to criticise, but for now I’m going to get my tickets, even though I’m struggling to do so, and support the guys at all costs.
Edward ‘Magents’ Motale
Bafana Bafana legend