The forgetting of home started back in 1998 when the most prestigious tournament in world sport was beckoning. Phillipe Troussier was elected head coach of Bafana Bafana before the world cup. The “white witch doctor” had a reputation for his successful coaching stints with Asec Abidjan and the Super Eagles who he had helped to qualify for that very tournament. He will be remembered for not having enough confidence in the players that were available or those that had represented the national team. He proceeded then to rope in some then unknown players into the squad. Some would live to be quite prominent in the country while others didn’t rid themselves of being unknowns. Hans Vonk who has eventually come back to the country and is now at Ajax, Pierre Issa who remained a gem for the country even after Troussier left, Marc Arnold well the less said about him the better.
The white witch doctor’s era was dogged by controversy: Dumisa Ngobe’s incident which apparently was physical, there was also the incident of Naughty Mokoena and Brendan Augustine which led to them being sent home. After the tournament he had to leave and thus he was sacked, the team never won under him. “Suffer”(SAFA) keep on looking abroad for coaches and recently Joel Sanata couldn’t cut the mustard, leaving the masses with more heartbreaks especially with his stupendous last nine match stats; it was quite remarkable that we couldn’t salvage more than one win. Surely draws weren’t that arduous if winning was asking too much . And to add insult to injury was his: “I don’t know any coach who got fired for losing friendlies” announcement. Considering that the fans’ temper was reaching its acme, and coupled with his exorbitant salary, surely the man could do better! Then there was that bright idea that Sono, Igesund and Barker should be pulled in to assist him. Wow! If one thinks back to a while back Barker was sacked because he was asking a meager R50 000 which doesn’t make up even one tenth of what Santana was earning in a month.
Surely it is a dime a dozen why “Suffer” should have faith in a local coach when Mashaba, Sono and Barker were more successful than the overseas counterparts. “Suffer” seems to lack the patriotism found in their rugby compatriots for instance; where local coaches are employed who seem to have extensive knowledge on the indigenous game. Rugby is not as competitive as soccer but then you look at previous winners of soccer world cups they have been won by coaches from those countries i.e Lippi, Scolari, Aime Jacquet etc. South African fans were severely fooled by the alleged good form Bafana had in the Confederations but when one sits back to meticulously construe the situation you can easily deduce that Bafana drew one game and beat one minnow team to qualify to the semi-finals and weren’t as impeccable as we all would like to believe.
Languishing in 84th position in the FIFA rankings, other factors the fanatic should take heed of is how our form in the AFCON is at a pejorative state. From being winners in 1996 and finalists in 98 to not qualifying to the 2010 tournament. If one is observant, one will notice how Egypt has been dominating the champions league in the form of Al Ahly and also the AFCON and the only time South Africa won the tournament was when a local team had won the champions league in the form of Pirates. Carlos Alberto Parreirahas been re-appointed with three games before the biggest ever sporting event in this country. The decisions has been met by hope from some and indignation by others – who are asking why aren’t they employing a local coach. We will see if he sinks or swims. For now though, Vuvuzelas are going to gather dust untill we play some minnow, less than ordinary island teams – like Madagascar – because at the moment it seems that that is all that is worth celebrating. Seemingly those are the only matches the team can win.