|LOST DECADE: Jabu Pule in action for Chiefs, 2003|
CAVIN JOHNSON insists his SuperSport United troops can upset Orlando Pirates in the Telkom Knock-out semi-final today.
SuperSport United coach Johnson, talking on my football show BOLLOCKZ! on www.ballz.co.za, said: “ I think we can take them. We have to give them respect, you can call them the Southern African champions right now after what they did in the African Champions League.
“We lost to them in the MTN8 on penalties, we allowed them back in to the game after going 1-0 up. But my players knew they were in with a chance.
“Pirates have gone and played a lot in Africa but I think we have a chance, we’re at home. The one thing I’ve taken notice of is how well Pirates played in the Champions League but the local game is a much faster game.
“We’ve prepared ourselves way, analysed their weaker points, we are ready. We’ve done everything we can.
“Chiefs or my old clubs Platinum Stars in the final? It really doesn’t matter!”
Johnson (see video below) also touched on the return of Jabu Pule to football – he is training with the SuperSport squad but at 33, can he make a footballing comeback after three years in retirement?
Johnson said: “Jabu is involved as an ex-player, trying to change the mentality of the people in Atteridgeville. We want to take the neighbourhood and make it ours. Draw the fans.
“But at the moment Jabu is training with us to get fit. It’s my own personal thing: everybody deserves a second chance.
“For what he’s done, I’ve known him for a while, going on television talking about drugs, drink, women – for me that’s a good sign. But if he gets a relapse he’s really in the kak.
“We use him as an amabassador for the club at the moment but Neal, he still has talent hey. He’s like Maradona, Gascoigne.”
Johnson was singularly unimpressed by Gordon Igesund’s latest international success, insisting:
“The 1-0 Bafana win over Spain did not excite me. I was at Soccer City on Tuesday. It does nothing for me, it does nothing for the country.
“I’m happy we beat the world champions but we needed to qualify for the World Cup. Spain didn’t come out of the starting blocks. And I don’t think Spain will go well in Brazil either, look at the Germans, Dutch, South Americans, they’re all flying.
“And yes, Khune did play well against Spain but with all respect, yah, wrong time. How about when we were playing the bloody Ethiopians. What mentality did we have. Walk in the park? You know what I’m saying?
“This is a South African problem. We have all the facilities, the best league in Africa, but we have a low grade mentality. It’s going to take a lot more than just natural footballers to fix that up. It’s going to take a generation of intelligent mothers and fathers to get it right.
“Now when I sign a player, I tell them I want to see their parents, the brothers and sisters. I want to know what kind of mentality they have, what support system, this is what I’m going to do with ALL the players I sign from now on.
“I want to see who they’re messing around with, whether they have played in the PSL for 20 years or are just coming up.
“With all respect, we have to lose now in order to win later. I cannot run players for two seasons, and then kick him out. That’s not fair.
“We have to change the culture of South African football. I can get foreigners to kick the hell out of everyone, some gorillas to boot the opposition. Look at them, they earn a lot of money in this country. That’s easy.
“I’ll give you an example. When I was at Platinum Stars and we played in Bloemfontein or Durban, their families would be waiting by the bus with their hands out. Not to greet them, but to say “put the money in my hand”.
“That for me is frightening. I’m preparing the boys for football but they’re scared of having to hand out their money to their parents. They don’t even give moral support to these boys, they say they have no bread at home, no money at home.
“They say “give us the money now” they don’t care about football. We need people to understand that. The generation coming up have to master that like the Brazilians. They have worse problems than we do.”
“It happens to every country. Took them 25 years to win a World Cup but there is a slump immediately afterwards, there’s nothing they can do about that. It’s the beauty of football.
“Look at Germany now. They were ordinary 10-15 years ago, now look at the pace they play at. The Spanish game is going down.”
BOLLOCKZ! my show on www.ballz.co.za, airs every Thursday from 9am. See the Ballz channel on www.YouTube.com for our growing collection of interviews with the big names in South African football.
You can also follow me on www.twitter.com/nealcol for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal and Pray” column every Tuesday in www.thenewage.co.za.
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