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OPINION: Players are using the national team

Posted: 22 May 2014 Time: 12:46

The current Bafana Bafana debacle which saw 14 players pulling out of the national team ahead of friendly internationals against Australia and New Zealand is – to put it mildly – scandalous and a disgrace to the county’s flag.

I put the blame at the door of our unpatriotic and overpaid players who only want to play for the country when it’s convenient to do so, or when they see an opportunity to market themselves to overseas scouts.

When we played against Brazil a few months ago, we had players popping up everywhere like mushrooms and ready to die for the national team jersey. Now that we are playing against Australia (who have actually qualified for the World Cup), the same players are not interested in playing for the country.

ALSO READ: Igesund forced into further changes

I maintain that had we qualified for Brazil, all these so-called ‘injured’ players would be fit as a fiddle and ready to play. Not a single player would be complaining about a minor injury.

I’m well aware that the two friendly matches against Australia and New Zealand fall outside the FIFA calendar and therefore players are not obliged to play, as per FIFA rules.

But then these matches are very important in a sense that it’s our only chance to assess our team ahead of the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers in September.

That, of course, is without stating the obvious which is the pride and prestige that comes with representing your country, no matter in which sport.

Our local players complain about fatigue, but what about someone like Thulani Serero? He had a grueling schedule with Ajax Amsterdam, being a key player in the League title win, and also played in the toughest club competition the world, the UEFA Champions League. Yet he honoured his call-up.

Anele Ngcongca had a hectic season in Belgium and battled with injuries, but like a true patriot he honoured his call-up.

But other players decided the matches were not important enough and decided to pull out. 

The worst thing for me is that the national team captain, Itumeleng Khune, is one of the players who pulled out. This is the same Khune who will be flying to Brazil for the World Cup where he will be taking his Vaseline competition winners.

Not fit enough to represent the national team when needed, but fit enough to fly to Brazil for the World Cup for some Vaseline competition. Is this someone we need as a captain of our national team? My answer is an emphatic ‘No’.

Yes, Khune did suffer an injury earlier this year, but he came back and played several matches for Kaizer Chiefs towards the end of the season. If he was seriously injured as he puts it, then how did he play all those matches?

SAFA’s list of players who should be suspended should also include Bidvest Wits striker Sthembiso Ngcobo. Not that he had a future with the national team, but to tell the coach that you can’t spend a week with the national team because you will see your family is totally uncalled for. This is an absolute disgrace.

But my biggest surprise is that, despite this disgrace, SAFA and their president Dr Danny Jordaan have yet to say anything to show their disgust.

Whether they want to keep coach Gordon Igesund or not, they should say something and act. All these so-called injured players should have been examined by the Bafana team doctor.

And it’s so ironic that this travesty happens 20 years after South Africa celebrated democracy. In May 1994, just after Nelson Mandela was inaugurated, we saw Bafana Bafana players playing their hearts out in a friendly match against Zambia.

Now 20 years later, all this seems a lifetime away. And if SAFA doesn’t act and send a strong message, this is something that will continue.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZolaDoda

Livefyre comments on this story...

ticoMP
posted: 2014-05-22 10:58:33

GUD POINT EDITOR

purified
posted: 2014-05-22 11:01:20

So south africa only hv dose players? No maan stop complianing give other players a chance

khlatshwayo
posted: 2014-05-22 11:04:43

TICOmp GI did warn us about this kind of behaviour from players when Serero pulled out some time last year. And now they all follow the same footsteps.

Krol is a Pirates Legend
posted: 2014-05-22 11:05:49

Zola umenzani uKhune " This is the same Khune who will be flying to Brazil for the World Cup where he will be taking his Vaseline competition winners." Lol 

papamokhuane the return baba
posted: 2014-05-22 11:06:21

Thats what you get for BIASED selections 

khlatshwayo
posted: 2014-05-22 11:06:30

They are now behaving like a bunch of loosers. And this is why we don't win anything its because FIFA is controlled by players. There should be some kind of punishment for this.


Professor_
posted: 2014-05-22 11:06:51

This is true...the national team is not failing because we dont have talent but because players put money ahead their national pride

We living in the days where honour comes by playing fo OP or KC rather than Bafana..yet we still wonder why the likes of Drogba and Ronaldo are among the worlds best

What a shame

Black4ever
posted: 2014-05-22 11:09:41

Zola you have a point but the problem starts with SAFA. Can you tell me what is their strategy with regard to the national team. Where are we going. Who is our next coach after GI, what structures have they put in place as a conveyer belt that supplies the national team . How many players do we have in this country and you want to tell me that the few you listed are the only players we have. The is no vision and continuity and you seem to be in SAFA's pocket that is your problem.

khlatshwayo
posted: 2014-05-22 11:09:48

These boys don't have respect for the nation.

siyaz
posted: 2014-05-22 11:14:23

I said it yesterday. Khoza, Motaung and Teko have a score to settle, either with GI or SAFA, at the expense of our national team. Greed from these first 2 gentlemen I mentioned is killing our soccer. I love Chiefs and I like Bra K, but this must be stopped. SAFA needs to protect our soccer from these 2, even if it means their players do not get selected for national team ever.

PassionFootball
posted: 2014-05-22 11:16:23

This is gud editor. I like. These players that do not honour call up should be left out permanently. We always blame coaches but this situation clearly shows our players hunger, desire, integrity, honour and respect they have for us. I am sorry but those who fake must break it for real. This is shameful. I feel sorry for GI in this situation and embarrassed by these no shows and fake injuries gtom our so called big clubs. Now we know y GI goes for european professional players.

khlatshwayo
posted: 2014-05-22 11:16:37

Black4ever Bra you don't just choose any rendom player, when you are a coach you need to make sure you have the best squad. Because if he puts just any player you will be the same person complaining of "why didn't he select so and so". The national pride is at stake and SA players are being given too much power over authority they think they can just choose who to coach them and who shouldn't instead of focusing on their job which is on the field of play.

NeoMmatli
posted: 2014-05-22 11:17:03

Take the entire under 23..problems sorted. I am tired of hearing about players not honouring their call up's and all that bull dust...

khlatshwayo
posted: 2014-05-22 11:19:20

siyaz I agree 100%, from a Pirates fan.

yellow machine
posted: 2014-05-22 11:21:46

@Siyaz Ndiyafuna ukukuthuka qha ndiyakuhlonipha bt uyayithetha intsente sani. Let me remind u Teko was told by GI he is on the other side of 30s he is nt in his plans. Everybody was surprised to hear tht from GI nw his favourite players turn their back on him he runs nd praise Teko for his good season nd ask him to help him. Teko was right to show GI a big fat middle finger. Jst answer me why mst u involve Teko in this mess?

Black4ever
posted: 2014-05-22 11:21:56

khlatshwayo You missed my point. Example. Uruguay is a population of 3 million people. Their administrators have a solid program they follow. If they call up a player and he does not respond they have a backup to that player and will overlook you when important games come. The same applies to our rugby national team that is my point . You do not have to put the players on a pedestal that one day will come back and haunt you. That is what safa has done and they are now reaping what they have sowed

K53 Rhino
posted: 2014-05-22 11:22:56

They Must take the NAKED F.C. to New Zealand. Love & Peace. 

Mhlonishwa Jabz1Two3Cebz
posted: 2014-05-22 11:23:09

Well said Mr Zola, this is what I posted 

The authorities that be must take a stand and cut off this trend before it destroys our soccer, fatigue or whatever, cannot be a good enough reason to turn down a national call up. BB is are now called 'Bunch of losers' because we no longer have soldiers who will die for our Nation. I don't want to write an essay but this must just stop before its too late. 

Keep calm and support BB 

20 hours, 44 minutes ago on

Pholux
posted: 2014-05-22 11:24:19

Leave Khune alone, why do you single him out. he has been honouring the call ups since, and now that he is not honouring this one you single him out, it is unfair. What about the Pirates players who did not even wanner play in the CHAN competition? This should be seen as an opportunity for Gordon to pick younger players. Khune has enough caps and has played his heart out for the national team, you guys are never on his side when he is criticised. Now you praising Serero who also pulled the same stunt not long ago. This attack on Khune is not fair, Khune didnt play against Brazil when we lost 5-0. We have alot of tried and tested players, and Gordon has seen enough of them, give younger players a chance to show case their talent against Australia and New Zealand and stop trying to save your Job Gordon. This article is misplaced and was a waste of my time.

yellow machine
posted: 2014-05-22 11:25:26

Well said Zola, the first group of players tht pulled out Safa was suppose to intervene before it gets out of hand. There's a story behind this I'm sure about tht nd its gona come out soon players are on strike here for something.

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