Our football wallows in a pit of pity

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Gallo Images

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula and Safa head Danny Jordaan are part of the problem, says the writer. Picture: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images

Durban – Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

His “Royal Razzmatazz” has made a name for himself with sweeping statements, but he outdid himself this week with “Losergate”.

Having taken off the ridiculous Arabian Nights garb that he had donned to giddily escort American boxer Floyd Mayweather jr to Robben Island, safari and everywhere else, our Minister of Fun and Mediocrity then put on his cowboy outfit and shot from the hip.

The last thing South African football needs right now, in this incredible famine, is for trigger-happy politicians to be pointing out glaring inadequacies – when they have done nothing to change the situation. People in glass houses, and all that.

The same ministry that has come down like a ton of bricks on the SA Rugby Union and Cricket South Africa for transformation and administration for years, has always been reluctant to throw the book at the sport of the masses.

The SA Football Association (Safa) has got away with doing sweet bugger-all for decades now. And this, this embarrassment that “Fiks-It” Mbalula spoke of so passionately, is the sorry fruit of the lack of labour at Safa House.

The truth is that our national football side has been useless for a lot longer than the last week. Forget the late-night Soweto mugging of Spain last year. Never mind the endless “encouraging” displays that they have coughed up in the odd Nelson Mandela Challenge over the past decade.

When it comes to tournaments or matches of consequence, like qualifiers, our senior football side – and those below them for that matter – have been found desperately wanting for far too long for this latest meltdown to be a surprise.

It has become a running joke on the continent that you only see a South African team at a Caf tournament if we are hosting it. It points to a chronic piece of the puzzle missing, and the fact that we still wait for Safa to actually roll up their sleeves and at least attempt to stop the bleeding is a farce.

Always, there are ready-made excuses to try to mask our shortcomings. The sob stories of how badly treated we are when we travel on the continent, of shoddy referees, of rules that are designed to make our life difficult, we have heard them all.

Danny Jordaan has become one of them now. Them being the excuse-makers, the fence-sitters who do nothing but collect a fat cheque each month, while our football wallows ever deeper into a pit of pity.

When Jordaan took over the reins at Safa last year, the football fraternity welcomed him with open arms. Ah, here comes a man of his word, a man of integrity, we all said. That same man thinks that if Bafana just re-brand themselves, quickly change their name and their stripes, they will cease to be the pile of stinky stuff that Razzmatazz spat on this week.

Marketing managers have been fired for suggesting such insipid musings at brain-storming sessions. But this is the man who runs our football.

Jordaan knows he can cough up such c**p, even with a smirk on his face, because his job is safe. It is this culture of complacency that is taking our football nowhere, and our country, for that matter, backwards.

Ominously, it is a symptom that filters from the country’s highest office.

It is this complacency that allows a national minister to stand up and speak as if he was holding quart in a shebeen, and could say whatever he wants, regardless of the consequences, because there will be no consequences.

Our football is in a state of crisis right now. Never mind the Bafana players, they will find comfort in the lucrative contracts they all hold at their clubs.

The losers here are the innocent and talented youngsters who enter football expecting a ready-made path to the top, only to find a trail of empty promises and pot-bellied administrators who don’t seem to care.

Those, Minister Razzmatazz, are the real losers.

Sunday Tribune


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