What an utterly disappointing weekend for South African soccer fanatics. The country is beginning to call for change following a disappointing 1-1 draw to Mauritania. It is clear that something needs to be done, but just what it is remains to be seen.
Coach Shakes Mashaba has bought himself some time as everything he does has been performed in the name of vision 2022, however, if 2016 is anything to go by, 2022 will be a miserable year.
The boys have now lost 4-2 on aggregate to a team ranked 104th that has also never been ranked higher than 100th. Included in this was a missed penalty and furthermore, Mauritania were playing with 10 men, Just to add salt to the wounds, the game was at home and there was a decent crowd of hard working South Africans who parted with their cash to watch the dismal display.
Yet, at the end of the game, we had Coach Mashaba stating that “I think the boys did well.” We have all seen enough post-match interviews to know that this is just standard football talk, but it is almost an insult to the intelligence of the supporters.
Many things do not make sense here, and the supporters have been crying foul for some time. Firstly, the constant inclusion of players who do not feature at club level leaves supporters baffled. Gabuza has not even been sitting on the bench for Pirates recently, yet he is taking our penalty kicks. Tokelo Rantie is not even registered with a club currently and is therefore as qualified to play national football as the dentist down the road.
An even more worrying sign is that players are refusing to play for Bafana Bafana. Not just any players, two of our best players who are even featuring regularly overseas are refusing to play. Both Kermit Erasmus and Kamohelo Mokotjo have said that Coach Shakes Mashaba’s personality is the exact reason why they will not play – this is a worrying sign as a coach is supposed to assemble a national team, not dismantle it.
However, we are faced with another problem – we fire our coaches too much. Many have said that the reason our team is going nowhere is because we chop and change coaches too often. But where do we draw the line? Springbok Coach Alister Coetzee finds himself with his job on the line only five games into his tenure because he has lost two of them, just to put it in perspective.
And furthermore, who will replace Shakes? The best coaches in the country already have jobs and the best coaches outside the country are ones we can no longer afford.
What should SAFA do in such a situation?