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What is the state of our readiness as the hosts of the World Cup to cover ourselves in glory?

Well, that is the question uppermost in the minds of poor suffering souls like us who are mad about football…

The state of South African football in respect to its readiness to don the colours of the nation and represent us with distinction, this is a question that has been asked many a times.

The question is not as straight forward as it would seem; it has many facets to it and today we shall nibble at a few of these contentious issues.

Off the field – in terms of infrastructure – there is no doubt the government, football authorities, private sector and the public have joined hands wonderfully so far in its preparations for the spectacle.

However, on the field it is not as straight forward as that as the team’s current form depicts. In terms of developing talent to represent us the train has long left the station.

We are in a delusional state of smoke and mirrors.

One day we are in a state of euphoria after beating Paraguay 3-0 in a meaningless friendly, and then we fumble when it matters most against lowly Sierra Leone and get humiliated when the Nigerian Super Eagles toyed around us as if our Bafana Bafana was a bunch of schoolboys.

As matters stand, only the brave are dusting off their travelling papers to the 2010 AFCON in Angola. Forgive me for being disinterested and unconvinced of our place among the 16 top nations on the continent.

We have a clueless SAFA at the helm and look at the mess they have concocted with the coaching personnel. I will not delve into the merits demerits of that Santana dude and his predecessor Parreira.

My worry is with the players … I guess it’s a matter of the blind leading the blind.

Well in terms of getting players that are competitive and also participate in the top leagues of the world, there is some representation from the current crop of players that dazzle the world with a proudly South African brand of football.

A player that comes to mind as I mention those well selected words is Steven Pienaar, there is a player that has  flown our flag proudly when playing for the likes of Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League, a player that has gained  respect from his peers abroad. One wonders if he will ever witness the brilliance the he displayed for Ajax in the champions league, for South Africa.

There are a couple of others that I may mention Benni and the likes but the controversy that surrounds them just leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

The majority of our players that play abroad are just ordinary in ordinary leagues, these are guys that have not set the international stage on fire and some are even dubbed flop signings.

Guys that have miraculously been able to ply their trade abroad season after season, our beloved captain “Aaron Mbazo Mokoena “is such a player. He has managed to stay on the payroll of a reputable club and to be hailed as our captain, maybe he is doing something that is right that I may be blind to. But I strongly doubt as this sentiment is widely shared among the many esteemed football fanatics of South Africa.

As the captain of the national team he has failed to inspire a deep sense of pride among the players he commands, which is echoed by the fans total disapproval of the current team, this is displayed by the dwindling attendance at Bafana games.

These are but merely a few of the areas of concern that may be remedied with a strong tonic of introspection that will leave no stone unturned in the quest for excellence. This process should not be diluted by short sighted SAFA officials who are blinded by God knows what but be pioneered by visionaries of yester year. Guys who will instill a sense of pride and a sense of duty among the players of the team people willing to lay down their lives for the nation…

As we look forward there is hope not all is lost just yet…

Teko Modise can stop trying too hard to be the flag bearer and messiah, there is the promise of the bulky Kagiso Dikgacoi who must be helped realise his abundant talent and the likes of Bryce Moon.

I see nothing wrong in South Africa getting a top striker in the mould of a Didier Drogba – someone who will not only intimidate the opposition but also possesses the nous to slot the ball into the net. We have shown the potential in producing capable world beaters, it is up to them to display a hunger to succeed that will engulf our football-mad nation.

Our socio economic conditions are not that different to that of Brazil yet their player have a knack of succeeding in the great leagues of this world and keep us glued to our screens, we do not lag that far behind in talent but our commitment leaves a lot to be desired.

I mean honestly, Benni is deadly in front of goals, but he is bit of a sissy for my liking… I don’t know whether it is because of his fickle patriotism or his greasy s-curl. Somehow he does not posses the ingredients to mesmerise the nation and keep them craving his brilliance. Not in this lifetime.

To be honest South African football is in crisis it needs someone to deliver us from this rot of under achievement that will kill this game adored by millions, a sport that bring joy to so many not only in watering holes of the affluent suburbs but also the dusty streets of the township.

Yet there is a silver lining in the clouds not all is lost football is far greater than these difficulties we are facing it will prevail at the end.

Simply signed

Football Connoiseur 99

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