Cape Town – South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday lambasted Bafana Bafana for their performance in the 2014 African Nations Championship, singling out goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs as the reason for the team's defeat.
“What I saw there was not a problem of coaching, it was a bunch of losers, who don't have any respect for this country and don't have any respect for anybody,” Mbalula told a packed media conference in Cape Town on Monday.
“That goalkeeper (Moeneeb Josephs), he was playing with the team, but he added up a whole lot of mess.”
The host side crashed out of the tournament following a heavy 3-1 defeat against Nigeria in their final group A clash at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday evening, failing to make it passed the group stage.
“The second goal... the goalkeeper commits a penalty, alone, single-handedly, and without being assisted by anybody,” Mbalula said.
“I love Moeneeb Josephs but I don't know what was going on with him yesterday... that is a total disgrace, a performance like that.
“I saw outside, people were lining up to greet them (Bafana Bafana). I'll never greet them, I did not even go to the dressing room, I did not even call them. To me, that was a disaster.”
Mbalula was referring to Nigeria's second goal of the game, when Josephs made a handling error, which led to him trying to regain control of the loose ball, bringing down Fuad Salami in the process and conceding a penalty on the half-hour mark.
Mbalula was clearly not in a sympathetic mood, shifting his tirade from the goalkeeper to the rest of the team, though Josephs could not be blamed for feeling hard-done-by at the minister's hard words.
“First and foremost, I want to concede that we, indeed, have a crisis of monumental proportions and this tournament was just one journey that proved we don't have a crisis of talent, we've got a crisis of putting everything together.
“The people of South Africa wake up and get this mediocrity. I felt like just standing up and walking out.”
Mbalula pointed to the Nigerian camp, who he said were in disbelief after Bafana failed to trouble them anywhere on the field.
“Two useless goals, I mean, Nigeria were shocked. I saw their coach starting to stand up, he couldn't believe.
“They thought they were going to meet the lions, whose stadium was filled to capacity, to come and fight for their own country, but what did they come to meet? Just a bunch of unbearable, useless individuals.”
Meanwhile, Safa president Danny Jordaan said Gordon Igesund's position as national mentor was safe for now, but hinted at a restructuring of the technical team could see the 57-year-old lose his job before his contract expires in June this year.
“There will be a comprehensive review,” Jordaan said.
“The National Executive Committee (of Safa) will meet early February. In the next month or so, we have to have a review of how we put the team on the field.
“These are the questions the National Executive Committee of Safa will probe. It's not just a substitution process, it's actually a new plan.” – Sapa