READER’S VIEW: Finally, it’s Shakes!
Posted: 5 August 2014 Time: 15:13
KickOff.com reader Walter Matshwi applauds SAFA's decision to appoint Shakes Mashaba as national coach, and believes we're finally headed in the right direction.
Let me also weigh in on the fanfare by applauding SAFA for finally regaining 'consciousness' with their appointment of Ephraim Mashaba as Bafana Bafana coach. Shakes' inauguration as the man at our national team's helm is just what the doctor ordered.
Many of us have correctly anticipated that with the regime change at SAFA house, which saw Dr Danny Jordaan take over from an embattled Kirsten Nematandani, it will bring about a paradigm shift in philosophy and orientation in our national team's character. Jordaan took over after many years of going back and forth without any working formula.
Some pundits have taken to Twitter and other platforms, where there's been a subtle campaign for the appointment of current Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter in this role. In my analysis this is the old guard that have always held the view that our football is too casual, therefore we needed to bring in some rigidity and hoof that many European teams where known for. Perhaps we must ask: how many foreign coaches have we brought in since then? And what effect did this have on our national team?
We must take a leaf out of Brazil's book, even after a disastrous World Cup on their home soil, they still went back and appointed a local coach (in former captain Dunga) to replenish their team. This shows that culture and philosophy in football to them is sacrosanct, thus they try all means to protect it from foreign influence.
I have read a report from former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns coach Ted Dumitru recently … wherein he came out to say that South African football lacks identity, with the chopping and changing that has characterised our football since our re-admission into international football in 1992, which brought Bafana Bafana's coach-sacking-toll to 24 (including caretakers), one cannot help but agree with the Romanian veteran coach.
Our football culture which used to fill stadiums in the 70s and 80s has been diluted by a lot of foreign influences. Unlike in successful countries like Spain, Germany and Brazil we have seen an influx of foreign managers (some average) taking over our local teams under the guise of helping our teams match European standards, but instead the ploy has seen our standards drop to non-entity.
Many soccer pundits from some sections of the media have been at the forefront of peddling this myth that our players need European influence because "they lack tactical discipline", this has instead chipped at some of the best attributes of our local football - the creativity, decisive dribbling, quick combinations of short passing, the slick movement and triangulation (that earned Mamelodi Sundowns the "Brazilians" tag) which made South African players special/unique, because they gave to international football what some footballing nationalities could not provide.
After so many years of meddling and tinkering without success, perhaps we all now ought to appreciate the fact that we are still at a rudimentary level and rally behind Shakes Mashaba in an effort to restore our football's identity.
By Walter Matshwi