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'No One, Even Mokotjo, Is Bigger Than Bafana Bafana'

A division is beginning to split the plates under our feet as South African supporters. Coach Shakes Mashaba has made another enemy out of a quality player. The news broke this week that Netherlands-based Bafana Bafana star Kamohelo Mokotjo has decided to hang up his international boots. Most supporters think this is another link in Mashaba's stubborn chain that serves to fasten his grip on the national team; others believe it's his show to run, and that he is therefore within his rights.

"Football is a funny thing, not so long ago we were praising Shakes," Soccer Laduma user Shares_Shelani said.

Some of our supporters are saying that the head coach should have carte blanche to field the team he wants. After all, it is him that we have trusted with the position to play football his way, not ours. SL user user katzarobbafana certainly agrees with this sentiment.

"Coach, don't waste your time thinking about Mokotjo, he is not the first player to resign. Nothing wrong with that decision," he said.

"The mistake of not qualifying was on the first two matches, not because of Mokotjo."

Furthermore, many supporters feel that we cannot blame our recent, almost certain failure to qualify for Afcon on squad exclusions such as Mokotjo, as pointed out by SL reader Mlingy.

"Leave Shakes alone. Does that Mokotjo guy possess miracles to rectify errors made by our Bafana Bafana as a team? I don't think so," he said.

"Is Mokotjo better than Kekana or Jali? I don't think so. Is Mokotjo a striker and prolific goalscorer? I don't think so. So Shakes, do your job."

The message from this side of the South African support stand is clear: we need to let the national coach do his job, and as much as it is unfair for a player to sit on a plane for many hours and miss out on club action just to sit on the bench, we still cannot develop a culture where players can come and go as they please and hang up their boots when the going gets tough.

"No one is bigger than Bafana Bafana. You play or you don't. The jersey comes first." SL website user Kekana515 said.

Which side of the debate do you sit on? Was Mokotjo right or wrong to temporarily hang up his boots? Should we just allow Shakes to select the team the way he wants to, or will he have to be flexible in order to not chase all our stars away?

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