Former Ajax Cape Town striker Nathan Paulse posted an open letter to SAFA on Sunday asking them not to take credit for Bafana Bafana's win over Egypt.
Dear Mr Jordaan and SAFA, before you jump on the emotional bandwagon and look to take advantage of the emotional high all football-loving South Africans are on, I respectfully request you refrain from taking credit in any way, shape or form for last night's victory... or suggest we are heading in the right direction as a country with well-scripted press releases.
Why should you refrain?
As evidence and past results have shown... the lack of clear pathways for our talented players through proper, transparent development structures clearly and consistently liking all levels of football in SA (which in turn sees a minute link to the global football industry) for years now suggests that no one in your organisation besides those on the field and perhaps pitch side could possibly have foreseen last night coming.
Last night's victory belongs solely to the players and their eagerness to show their worth by fearlessly showing what they are capable of. Many if not all of these players have worked their whole lives and made huge sacrifices for moments such as these in football.
Instead of taking credit, I suggest you shot-callers and decision-makers start respecting this game and use last night as food for thought to inspire you all to ensure such moments can and should become more commonplace in our football consistently, as opposed to being blips on the world football radar once every few years i.e. AFCON 96, Masinga's goal sending us to France 98, Under-23 Sydney 2000 Olympics, Tshabalala's opening goal at the World Cup 2010. And please don't mention Vision 2022, get real with your timelines for proper, deep-rooted chance for once!
If like me, you have bled and broken bones for this game and earned every second on the field, you will maybe begin to understand the need to take your role seriously. Or humbly hand over the reins to people who do have the ambition, passion and know-how to progress SA as a football nation, and not use it as a tool for personal gain.
Yours in Sport
A football fan and former pro player of 20 years with experience at all levels of the game in South Africa, from grassroots to international football.