SportPesa ambassador, Doctor Khumalo believes that for South Africa to reach the heights of AFCON 1996, we have to go back and have a look at what made that victory possible.
“What made South Africa win the 1996 Afcon? It didn’t just happen by mistake or fluke. There was a very thorough process that took place, but what happened after that? When we reflect, do we even remember what the people in charge back then had in mind and what they actually did? Clearly they did something right if that achievement hasn’t been met more than 20 years later. France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and they went on to repeat that feat in 2018, coached by their 1998 captain who led his troops to that impressive 3-0 win over more-fancied Brazil. Can you see the continuity and the results that come with it?
Things were not always smooth-sailing for France, but when you look at their recent achievement, you’ll notice that it mirrors what the legendary Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and other legends achieved back then. It took going back to the drawing board to get things right and do we have the same interest? Do we have people that have been in the game, who can look back at what worked and find ways to revisit all that made us who we are? It is very important to look back in order to map your way forward and even improve it.”
The Kaizer Chiefs legend added that recapturing success requires that all age groups adopt the same mind sets and attitude until reaching the first team.
“When I’m talking about reflecting, this goes to all the age groups and not just the senior teams. You can’t do one thing with the senior teams and something completely different with the juniors. It should apply across all the teams if success is to be achieved. For instance, we’ve had our junior national teams qualifying for major tournaments, but do we know how they did it? Are we still happy with qualifying and not worried about ensuring that we go a step further in the following tournament? Other countries have targets and that’s how they measure their progress and improvements. I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes, but just sharing what other people are doing. At club level, you’ll also notice that a lot still needs to be done. You find international teams scouting and monitoring players for about five years, from a young age, until they sign them. That’s the way to go. If you do things properly, you won’t sign 10 players before the start of the season and then have another wholesale change at the end of the season, releasing and bringing more players in.”