Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Time up for Gordon's South Africa: after Nigeria embarrassment, is it time for Baby Bafana?

False dawn? Bafana celebrate against CAR

THERE are no words to adequately describe Bafana Bafana’s disappointing 2-0 defeat against Nigeria at the Moses Mabhida on Wednesday night.

So often, under the management of no-nonsense Gordon "Four PSL Titles" Igesund, we have been tempted to scent a new dawn for South African football. There was the AFCON win against Angola, the World Cup triumph over the Central African Republic in Cameroon, even the two hard-fought 1-0 defeats in Brazil and Poland.

But nothing can quite prepare a nation for a thumping at the hands of an old footballing foe, many of whom live gleefully in our midst.

With John Obi Mikel out with a pre-season “tummy bug” and his Chelsea team-mate Victor Moses left languishing on the bench despite his enthusiasm for the Madiba challenge, South Africans were hoping for a rousing triumph – or even a drab draw – against a side with five wins and just one defeat against Bafana.

Instead we were treated to a performance which left many mourning the bad old days of Pitso Mosimane and the bungling Brazilians who preceded him.

Up front, Malmo’s former Pirate Tokelo Rantie, allegedly the subject of a R18m bid from lowly Bournemouth earlier in the day, barely had a touch. Next to him Benard Parker looked more likely to score at the other end, as he did with such stunning accuracy in the numbing World Cup qualifying defeat in Ethiopia.

At the back, the old Bloemfontein Celtic centre-back duo of Tower Mathoho and Thabo Nthethe showed alarming inexperience and a worrying ability to freeze as Uche Nworfor, on as a second half substitute, helped himself to a brace.

The first was a deft back heel, a moment of quick-thinking with his first touch after coming on for Shola Ameobi. The second was a mere tap in, with the glamour sub Moses involved in an intricate build-up which left Mathoho and Nthethe all at sea next to the Indian Ocean.

In the middle of the park, Dean Furman was exposed for the journeyman he really is at Doncaster Rovers with Reneilwe Letsholonyane just as hard-working but equally incapable of finding the killer ball world-class midfielders MUST be able to deliver.

As irate South Africans desperately searched for answers, there was In-Gord-We-Trust insisting: “We did well in the first half. But Nigeria were the better side, they had more purpose in the second half. We made poor decisions around the box, too rushed.

“We have to calm down, keep the ball. I threw in a couple of youngsters. I’m not too disappointed, there are things we can work on.”

But we have heard all that before. It feels like Bafana are no nearer a real solution than we were post-Pitso after that dream-crushing opening draw against Ethiopia.

Former Bafana and Pirates hero Mark Fish said: “It looked like we were afraid to tackle Victor Moses. Nigeria were a far better side going forward.”

There is no easy solution. Development in this country is barely touched on while SAFA and the PSL seek to bolster their coffers with short term solutions and gimmicks. The Bafana junior set-up remains an embarrassment, as do many of the so-called academies at our major clubs.

When Bafana return to the Moses Mabhida, a super-stadium which deserves better, on September 7 to play Botswana, Igesund will be relying on the Central African Republic to take at least two points off Ethiopia to stand any chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next year.

And do we really stand any chance in the play-offs against sides like these African champions Nigeria? Of course not, given what we’ve seen.

The answer lies in youth. The only answer. Igesund must have the guts to tell the big boys at SAFA he has seen enough of Rantie, Parker, YeYe and Shabba, who shoot like rusty blunderbusses and sell their image rights with lethal intent.

He must ignore calls for a return to the days of Teko Modise, Andile Jali and Killer Mphela. That’s as wise as calling up Benni bloody McCarthy and patching up Siya Sangweni or recalling Stevie Pienaar.

Gordon must go for 2018 now. Unearth the youngsters who are steadfastly ignored as the agents and chairmen insist on the selection of their falling stars in an attempt to keep their value high. We have now reached the stage where these “legends” are named in the Bafana squad for PR purposes even when SAFA knows they won’t play as we saw before the COSAFA Cup and the current double-whammy.

Siyanda Xulu is a case in point. At 21, he kept the mighty Samuel Eto’o quiet for Rostov against Anzhi in the Russian league a fortnight ago, a shackling of the best-paid player in the world - a feat which may ultimately lead to the breakdown of Makhachkala’s billionaire policy.

Yet Xulu and the equally promising Buhle Mkhwanazi at AmaTuks played no part against Nigeria’s Super Eagles and did anyone else get that sinking feeling when Lerato Chabangu emerged as a sub? I did.

Victory over Burkina Faso on Nelson Mandela Sports day on Saturday may gloss over this woeful night for South African football. But thank God it’s the Springboks who are taking on Argentina at Soccer City on the same bill.

WARNING: This was written in the throes of post-match depression!

BOLLOCKZ! my show on, airs every Thursday from 10am-noon. You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday A shorter version of THIS story will be published in The New Age on Tuesday.

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice!



  1. Well said Neal,

  2. As long as we act like we don't leave in this continent this humiliation will come day in day out remember Burkina Faso has just beatean Moroco in Casablanca 2-1

  3. Hope he will read this column.Tried,Tested and Failed players have been with BB from 2008 but they haven't won anything.We need new blood

  4. The shouts for NEW BLOOD remain unheard! The Bajew Bajewa plonks give new meaning to the CHOKERS title!! Move over Proteas Bajewa are here to stay:-)


  5. Yes the young generation may be the answer, however we all aware that, these young stars cannot stand strong and focus, they get carried away by the presence of glory and fame (i.e. Fancy life), most especially those that are based in SA.

    Why not enforce a game time for the inform players on the PLS clubs. Lot of players have been destroyed by our own PLS Clubs (The likes of Manqele, vanheerden, Kekane, Shakes, Mayambela, Sangweni (sundowns), and lots more)

    It also a good time to base our eyes strongly on abroad players, even though they not base on the top, league's as Dean is doing a fantastic job, ( the likes of ayanda patsotsi, Kamehelo Mokotjo,Calvin Kadi, Daylon Claasen ) give these guys a chance also,

    Our national team will not taste success and we still have a battle of pirate and chiefs players forcing for them to make the first team.

    The solution is beyond The young Blood

  6. Thanks for analyzing the poor performance of South African team. The entire team must be revamped to start winning games on a regular basis.

  7. There is SHOCKING news in the sports betting industry.

    It has been said that any bettor needs to see this,

    Watch this now or stop betting on sports...

    Sports Cash System - Advanced Sports Betting Software.