Gordon Igesund

Bafana Bafana fans should not have to accept mediocrity and the almost inevitable conclusion that we are not good enough to compete internationally, even on this continent.

Sunday’s devastating loss to Ethiopia will have many watching coach Gordon Igesund’s next move. Though South Africa’s football bosses still rate him highly, will they keep him on after failing to meet their requirement of qualifying for World Cup 2014?

It is natural for accusatory eyes to focus on Igesund in the wake of Sunday’s pain. But they should also turn to the country’s football association, which has not created a factory of talent so badly needed at an international football level.

Without healthy structures for development, and money used appropriately, Igesund and any future coaches will struggle to produce squads able to compete internationally.

Former Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira once spoke of the mass production of players. He likened this to a factory where, at nine years old, a youngster had already joined a club, and at 19, he had had a decade of organised football. This was why there were so many good teens plying their trade in Brazil’s first division, he said.

Since 2002 – the last time Bafana qualified for a major tournament – South African football has been disappointing while other African nations like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria have strengthened and consolidated.

In a statement yesterday, laden with disappointment, Igesund said: “We did everything that we could possibly do.”

A powerful inference of this, one football bosses should not miss, is that the success of the team does not lie only with the players, coach and his technical team. It is up to Safa to ensure a stream of developing footballers, to produce the stars needed to return to the summit of African football.

If Safa does not wake up to this, and act, we will remain a mediocre football playing nation.