After the magical performances by our national cricket and rugby teams against England last Saturday, it is now time to discuss the future of Bafana Bafana.
In a strictly sporting sense, there were a lot of horrid South Africans spoiling the weekend when England were defeated by South Africa in both the Cricket and Rugby World Cups.
More remarkable about the rugby results was that England were the only remaining undefeated side in the tournament.
It was an utterly wonderful weekend of results for the country and a huge showcase of why so many South Africans have now turned to rugby for comfort.
Many, who were never rugby enthusiasts, love the sport now. Remember England led for a long time but the Springboks hung on and found the way to succeed by hook or by crook. They stayed in the fight until the last five minutes of the game and won it by a narrow score of 16-15.
That was just after the Proteas had humiliated the English with a whooping 229 run-win at the Wankhede Cricket Stadium in Mumbai, India, earlier in the day.
England are the defending champions of the Cricket World Cup, which they won in 2019 in their home country.
The Proteas and Springboks remain our pride internationally. Whether they win the trophies or not, they have done us proud. They have competed fiercely with the world’s best teams.
This says we are blessed and gifted with talent in the sports fraternity.
But with the soccer national team, things do not add up. The once pride of the nation has swapped jubilation for despair. It is difficult to explain what happened.
The national soccer team failed to excite the home supporters. Recently it played two matches in empty stadiums. What a disgrace for a national team to play in front of empty seats.
Perhaps I am wrong but it is not Bafana Bafana who are not failing the nation, but the soccer administrators, coaches and federations.
Soccer has become the black sheep of the family. Must we not worry about that?
We have to and even envy the other sporting codes that are doing fairly well.
It hurts when I think about the team that shook the world in 1996 who are now a shadow of themselves. When we came back to the international world, we were a force to be reckoned with. What has happened since then?
We hosted the biggest soccer spectacle, the Soccer World Cup in 2010. That was a sign that we were part of the global world, that we have talent, that we can compete with the world.
Every time I think about the promising soccer talent of my country, I freeze. I have listened to radio shows where people are crying out about the involvement of the politicians in soccer as a major problem. I cannot say things about that for some reasons but I can say that the country is in a mess because of politicians.
But I have heard the decrying of the lack of school sports and good soccer academies. People believe rugby and cricket are doing well because there are schools for them. There is an element of truth in this but I beg to slightly differ. The two sporting codes are run efficiently. There is proper development of cricket and rugby players unlike soccer. Development in soccer is having soccer tournaments. That cannot be development but one or two events that have no direction.
If I had money I would sponsor teams with balls and kits so they can develop future players. The day every child kicks a ball on the streets, I will know that we are in the right direction. There was once a World Cup legacy fund aimed for the development of soccer. What happened to it? I know something happened in Soweto and KwaMashu in KZN. I have not heard about Mdantsane and Khayelitsha, the other two biggest townships in the country.
As a soccer lover, I envy cricket and rugby. Unfortunately, I know that soccer is far from going anywhere.
Our local teams are also under-performing. I am talking about teams in the premier league, your Kaizer Chiefs, Cape Town Spurs, Orlando Pirates, AmaZulu and others.
Our top scorer at the end of the season does not score more than 15 goals after 30 matches. In effect a top scorer does not even reach 15 goals in all competitions. We need to improve our soccer – as in yesterday.
This weekend we might see the Webb Ellis Cup coming back home if the Springboks beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final in Paris, France, on Saturday night. Mayibuye. The Proteas might also bring home the Cricket World Cup trophy, which they are currently competing for in India.
All the best to the two most satisfying teams of our country.