Pretoria - Back in 2006, Bafana Bafana were hit by a pay dispute on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The cash row was believed to have led to the team’s miserable performance in a 2-0 loss to Guinea in a warm-up game. South Africa had also failed to qualify for the Fifa World Cup in Germany.
An uproar over salaries erupted again in the Bafana camp just days before the 2009 Confederations Cup here at home. The players were demanding R34 million in incentives for the forerunner to the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa.
Legendary former player Mark Fish claimed at the time that the salaries had always been an issue of contention.
He added: “When we got back into international football in 1992 we were fighting about money, and 17 years down the line we are still fighting about money; players come and go and coaches come and go, but we still have the same administration.”
This past Sunday, players who were not part of the women’s national team, Banyana Banyana, for the upcoming Fifa World Cup took to the field against Botswana. Money was again the root of the problem, with the selected players refusing to play in the send-off game before their departure to this year’s Fifa World Cup.
After Banyana’s maiden Women’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph in Morocco last year, the government and the SA Football Association agreed to pay women’s and men’s football teams equally. Similar agreements are in place in the US, England, Norway, Brazil and Sierra Leone.
The disgraceful scenes that unfolded on Sunday cast doubt on whether Banyana are really receiving the same pay as their male counterparts.
Bafana have qualified for the Afcon next year and recently scored a memorable victory over Morocco, all without a cash row. Are coach Hugo Broos’s Bafana pocketing the same as Banyana for national duty?
Football results have no space for comments, and therefore the game on Sunday will sadly go down in history as a 5-0 victory for Botswana – on South African soil, nogal.
It's time for a change – a change of attitude and administrators if need be – for the betterment of our football if we are to compete with continental and global powerhouses.