For all the talk of building a new culture in the national team and addressing the “errors” of the past, losing to lowly Seychelles would really be a kick in the teeth.
The premise is that collapsing to Cape Verde a year ago and Libya last month was punishment enough.
Kamohelo Mokotjo spoke on Monday of Bafana Bafana’s preparation for the first of back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles on Saturday about some sort of new era.
When Stuart Baxter was appointed head coach 17 months ago, he spoke of trying to change a lot of the things that lost the national team their credibility as a continental powerhouse.
But he’s not quite hit the right notes.
Now and again Bafana are impressive and win the odd qualifier, but hardly ever those that matter.
“I don’t think we should look too far ahead. The pressure will always be there, so we should deal with each game as it comes, and that is how we have established a new culture here.
“It always takes time to get positive results in every game, especially in the beginning,” was Mokotjo’s response about rebuilding the 1996 African champions.
But talk is cheap, and the players know that.
Bafana have already suffered the blow of missing out on the Afcon two years ago under then-coach Shakes Mashaba, and can’t afford a repeat with Baxter.
The nation is longing to have its heroes back among the top sides on the continent.
My point is that Bafana have a responsibility to evoke the right kind of emotions among the fans, but what they’ve done recently is drive many of their loyal supporters away.
There was so much hope that Baxter would guide Bafana to the World Cup in Russia when Cape Verde were next up in the qualifiers last year, especially seeing that we were playing them home and away in a matter of days.
Sure, you can’t compare Seychelles, a team made up of pastry chefs and mechanics, to the Blue Sharks from Praia, but there’s a similar theme here, if you like.
Afcon qualification can be the beginning of the road to redemption, the start of this new era. Let’s not embarrass ourselves.