CAIRO – “We expect them to go to the second round, at least,” the South African Football Association (Safa) president, Danny Jordaan, said in revealing Bafana Bafana’s mandate at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
But before he spoke about the mandate, Jordaan along with the sport, arts and culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa, slammed Bafana’s performance in the 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast on Monday at Al Salam Stadium. Mthethwa was very critical.
“They were not coherent on the field,” Mthethwa said. “I don’t even want to talk about the attempts at goals (Bafana didn’t have a single shot on target).
“I don’t think that it is acceptable (to play like that). It will be justifiable for South Africans to criticise this poor performance. It was poor. The next match on Friday, with Namibia is important, Bafana must in fact win all their remaining matches.
“Our football has been attended to in the past, but it needs more attention. This is the No. 1 sport in the country.”
Bafana lacked imagination and urgency against the Elephants. Without creativity and forceful entry in the Ivorians’ box, Bafana’s strikers were isolated and rendered useless.
“I was not impressed,” Jordaan said. “Let me just stop at that because it’s really for the coaches to pick the team, organise the formation and instruct the players how to play.
“But of course, that wasn’t the performance that we expected from Bafana. We didn’t expect that. The players know, we were very unhappy. This team is one of the most feared teams in the continent.
“The Senegal coach (Aliou Cisse) told me that there is nobody on the continent who can take you on when you play your passing game, that’s why when we play against Bafana we stay at the back. You must have between four and six at the back.”
Bafana returned to the training pitch yesterday afternoon. Their body language was still down, but there was determination on their faces. They will look to make up for the Ivory Coast disappointment by getting the better of Namibia at Al Salam Stadium tomorrow.
A loss would essentially knock them out of the competition, which means that the players would lose a substantial pay day as they were promised big money for reaching the last 16. To do that, they either have to finish in the top two of Group D or be one of four best third-placed teams. A lot will need to change if they are to be one of those 16 teams.
“We expect them to go to the second round, at least,” Jordaan said. “They must at least reach the second round. That’s why our bonus structure is the way it is. There’s no use winning one match and then doing nothing after that.
“Go to the second round, and then we will give each player R320 000. If they were going to get the normal win bonus of R60 000, they would get R180 000 for winning three games.
But we want them to go to the second round so we almost doubled it.”