‘The less we say about Bafana the better’

Bafana missing the 2018 FIFA World Cup is evidently still a bitter pill to swallow as the country is left memorialising the magnificent goal scored by Siphiwe Tshabalala eight years ago, while other nations are gearing up for the excitement that awaits in Russia.

Our legends and former players themselves cannot fathom why South Africa have not been able to qualify (without hosting) for the world’s biggest football stage in 16 years, despite boasting all the necessary tools and infrastructure to do so.

Baloyi, who was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad in France, says there is very little to say about the current state of the senior national team as well as the crop of players to take the country forward, despite plenty of promise being shown by the junior teams.

“We have quite a number of players coming through from the various age groups of the national teams, but at the moment there’s nothing we can really say about the [senior] national team,” said Baloyi.

“Until we start playing in the next qualifiers for the Nations Cup or the other bigger tournaments, the less we say about what just happened in COSAFA, the better. 

“We need to just look forward but, at the moment, I can’t sit here and tell you this is the core of the national team – I’d be guessing.”

Since Stuart Baxter returned to the fold just over a year ago, Bafana have been unconvincing in the way of results, beating the likes of Nigeria and Burkina Faso, while losing to Cape Verde home and away in their respective qualifiers.

With the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on the horizon, and thereafter the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Kaizer Chiefs stalwart says it’s difficult to see the direction Baxter and the national team is currently taking.

“We need a plan from the coach that he can sell to us as the public, so that we can back it and follow the national team knowing what it is they want to achieve, and then we should be able to see [how it progresses] with the kind of players he will be putting in the team,” he added.

“At the moment there are a lot of talented players in the mix, some that are just about to retire. There is a lot of talent in the country, but do we know who is part of the national team [for sure]?

“If we are now working towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, we need to be sold that this is the core of the team; this is the players that will be participating in all the qualifiers; these are the players that will be our soldiers throughout the next qualifiers.

“But, at the moment, like I said, there’s nothing more that we can say.”