Safa could do better PR work than this
I am happy that the international friendly game between Bafana and Poland is on course. I confess to have been confused, angry and a tad embarrassed a day ago to hear conflicting statements from the SA Football Association (Safa) leadership that gave me the impression that the left hand did not know what the right was doing.
First we are told by the Safa boss Kirsten Nematandani that the game was off, ostensibly at the request of the Bafana coach Gordon Igesund who is reported to have been not too keen to face European opposition to prepare Bafana for an African tournament and consequently requested Safa to secure opponents from the continent instead.
I got ridiculed by Pastor Idah Peterside and become the butt of jokes about my countrymen who are accused of “running scared” and seeking “softer” and “weaker” opponents to boost their fragile confidence leading to the 2013 African Nations Cup tournament, particularly Mamadou Gaye who doesn’t spare me and for our collective cowardice.
Then thank goodness sanity prevails as Safa CEO Robin Petersen announces the game is back on again. I do not want to dwell on what led to the confusion in the first place. I am simply embarrassed that once again the Safa leadership has failed to cover itself in glory by shooting themselves in the foot.
I sense a serious lack of communication within the Safa House corridors. Agreed the match was arranged well in advance, in fact, long before Gordon Igesund occupied the hot seat during Pitso Mosimane’s tenure, which is the right thing to do as many football playing nations plan their programme for a year in advance.
My concern however, is the manner in which confusion around this fixture was created and our how badly we looked in damage control. By trying to implore the Poles to postpone thegame two weeks before it officially takes place is nothing short of embarrassing and exposes our shortcomings in the eyes of the world.
For a country that has hosted such a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup and boasting the seventh commercially successful Premier League, we have not only let down our admirers, but have given the world a picture of being “Ama-Chancers” and a bit amateurish despite our boast to the contrary.
The impasse between the Premier League and their affiliates the National First Division also need to be resolved amicably and as speedily as possible as it is not good for the image of South African football and pointing fingers and hurling insults ateach other is not the best way to solve disputes.
Finally, Banyana have a mandate to win the African Women Championship scheduled for Equatorial Guinea next month. But if you thought they rank among favourites for the continental crown, then please put your money elsewhere as Amanda Dlamini and her troops face a disastrous campaign.
Nigeria and other qualifiers have already started preparations. Yet Banyana girls are twiddling their fingers and their nails in frustration at home, with no hurry, no urgency and no plan to start preparing for this continental showpiece why? Because it’s still too early to start preparing!
If you do not believe me, ask their coach Joseph Mkhonza. He has submitted a programme leading up to the tournament, but he has not received a response from the Safa leadership, let alone an acknowledgement of a receipt of his proposal. He last saw his players when they returned from the embarrassing exit from the Olympic Games.
He has no idea whether Portia Modise is still in tip top condition neither does he know whether Amanda Dlamini has picked on extra kilograms or Refilwe Jane has not picked up an injury while turning out for Mamelodi Sundowns as coach and players were last since together at the OR Tambo arrivals halls clearing customs from the Olympics.