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There's no soft draw when it comes to Bafana

By unknown | Nov 27, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Some South Africans breathed a sigh of relief after Saturday's Fifa 2009 Confederation Cup draw in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Some South Africans breathed a sigh of relief after Saturday's Fifa 2009 Confederation Cup draw in Sandton, Johannesburg.

"We got a soft draw," some said while others proclaimed with hidden smiles that the draw was "cooked" to benefit Bafana Bafana.

For me there is nothing to be excited about. In fact, we should be more worried about this out-come.

Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that just because we are not in the same group as Brazil, Egypt, Italy and the US we are now as good as having qualified for the knockout stage.

Let me first put things into perspective, if you will, by showing you the Fifa rankings of teams in our Group A, dear reader:

New Zealand, the Oceania champions, who on paper are no-hopers, are currently ranked 60th. The Asian champions, Iraq, are on 75th spot and Spain, the European champs, top the world rankings.

In group B Italy are ranked third, Brazil fifth, Egypt 21st and the US 24th.

Since we are the lowest ranked in our group, how do we come to the conclusion that we got a "soft draw"?

Let us also not be hoodwinked by the fact that our national Under-23s once beat New Zealand 3-2 away and 1-0 at home and then think we can take it easy against the All Whites (senior national team).

Let us also not forget that we failed to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. This suggests that the Joel Santana-coached team should consider all draws to be tough. Methinks.

One of our other disadvantages is the fact South African teams have been performing dismally at club level in continental competitions where we have failed to reach knockout stages. Clearly that has left many players with less international experience.

Our overseas-based players, on the other hand, mostly get little action as they are reduced to bench warmers.

To compound the situation further Santana is also a green-horn when it comes to coaching a national team. I still insist that Pitso Mosimane is more experienced than his Brazilian senior.

Safa bosses still insist on refusing to find him a technical advisor.

With this so-called soft draw favouring us, as they say, I would have rather settled for a group that included Spain, USA and Italy.

We are, after all, hosts and need that type of opposition now in order to know if we are moving in the right direction.

But now that the draw was "cooked" let us therefore beat anyone in our path to reach the final of the Confederations Cup.

How about that?

l Best wishes go to Banyana Banyana who face Equatorial Guinea in the African Women's Championship in Bamako on Saturday.

I also have this uneasiness that our girls were sent to Equatorial Guinea without an official delegate from Safa because they were expected to return home much earlier.

Shame on you guys because that was tantamount to ridiculing this CAF activity and also demonstrating a clear lack of confidence in Banyana's coach, August Makalakalane.

While on Safa, I wonder if our friends still remember why we refused to call the Under-23s by their sponsor-driven nickname.

More than 10 years ago Sasol representatives pleaded with Sowetan to call the Under-23s AmaGlug-glug and we refused.

Our argument was that you cannot be dictated to by sponsors on what names to use for teams that are national assets.

Our sister paper, Sunday World over the weekend carried a story that said Sasol were terminating their relationship with Safa.

Our consolation to Safa, which once accused us of trying to run football, is "we told you so". Ha! Ha!


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