JOHANNESBURG – Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul believes national teams’ qualification for major tournaments merely to add numbers is not good enough.
The South Africa Under-20 side qualified for the year’s U20 World Cup, but bowed out in the first round after only managing a draw against Portugal, while losing their encounters against South Korea and Argentina in the group stage.
Furthermore, that was the second successive disappointment from the South Africans under the guidance of Thabo Senong, having achieved a similar feat at the last edition. Deemed as a below-par performance, Senong’s contract with Amajita hasn’t been renewed since it expired on June 30.
“Thabo Senong had a contract that was meant to conclude at the end of the World Cup, and that’s what it is - it has concluded,” Paul said. “Up to this point, he’s got to report to the technical committee and after that report will be submitted to the national executive committee. The guys will then will look at it and see how we move forward.
We’ve got another Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup that’s coming up. He’s taken the team to the World Cup, yes. But are we happy that we didn’t progress? No. It’s now been two World Cups that we didn’t progress.”
It’s not only Senong who still needs to submit a report on the challenges that led to a national team’s failure at a global tournament.
Having inspired her team to their maiden Women’s World Cup, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis still needs to submit her report to the technical committee and national executives committee on why they lost all of their group stage games against Spain, China and Germany. However, that appears to be a formality as Safa want to assist in any challenges that may have caused Banyana’s disappointing showing.
“If we talk about success, we are thankful that she’s (Ellis) progressed the team. What she’s done is great for now and we need to help her,” Paul added.
However, despite Banyana having made their first appearance at a World Cup, Paul believes that qualification alone is not good enough. And hopefully a progressive approach will transfer to all the national teams.
“An assistant will be made with her (Ellis) when she brings her reports, which is imminent now. We’ll then know of how we can help her,”’ Paul stated. “The question that we have to ask ourselves as South Africans and not only Under-20s, is qualification enough?
We have to ask ourselves why are there other teams in the world and continent that are able to go beyond the group stage.”@Mihlalibaleka