The reality is that Israel has a team competing in arguably the biggest football tournament in the world, the UEFA Champions League. Whether it is Maccaibi Haifa or Netanya slugging it out in the group stages, the fact is that there is always an Israeli team amongst the best.
So it is worrying that when one of our players signs for an Israeli team, our fans and media receive such news with a cold attitude at best. Who the hell are we in the bigger scheme of football things?
We have no team competing in the CAF Champions League. We did not qualify for the last African Nations Cup. We are lying in the lower levels of the FIFA rankings and we virtually have no more than 10 players in the top three European leagues. We are nobody!!
So it was with a tinge of sadness when I watched a highlights package of Dino Ndlovu, who is currently playing in Israel. What a player! He was moving like a man possessed and reports that he is doing wonders up there were justified by the YouTube video.
This was the same player Mamelodi Sundowns discarded without seeing any action. It was the same player Bloemfontein Celtic left on the bench to rot. Did he magically discover his scoring boots? Did he become a classy striker over night? I do not think so.
The problem lies with our football thinking in South Africa. Our fascination with Tik-Taka type of football is killing us. Functional footballers who would get us results are discarded for more stylish footballers who can do a trick or five. In our heads we are the most skilful football nation that ever existed.
However, the evidence above points to the contrary. We do not have world-class and skilful players like Messi and Aguero, who cannot only beat a man, but will score a bucketful of goals.
We have to stop thinking that one day we are going to start winning games by playing ‘keep the ball’. Frankly, judging by the PSL games, our players are incapable of keeping possession going forward for more than two minutes.
We need to be more functional and win-oriented in our mentality than we currently are. It is time that we give work-horses like Dino Ndlovu more of a chance and we might get somewhere before it’s too late.