Fri Oct 28 10:27:36 CAT 2016
Order restored at Sun City Prison after fiery protest over inmates’ TVs

Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.

2008 not sa's finest

By unknown | Dec 24, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

With 2008 drawing to a close, South Africans with a passion for soccer cannot be blamed for hoping that the new year will bring greater things on the field of play

It was a year that Bafana Bafana became a laughing stock in world soccer after failing to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time since 1996.

This was definitely not a good year for Bafana Bafana who started by bombing out in the first round - as usual - at the Afcon finals in Ghana in February.

Then came one Brazilian Joel Santana to take Bafana Bafana to nowhere as they could only get seven points during their heart-breaking qualifying rounds.

Santana was roped in by Safa after the man many of us believed in so much, Carlos Alberto Parreira dumped us in June to "take care of his not so well wife".

Bafana Bafana are not going to the finals in Angola in 2010, a tournament that would have been a perfect starter menu to prepare for the 2010 World Cup's main course.

The South African Football Association (Safa) has made it clear their failure to go to Luanda will allow Bafana to play a series of friendlies.

The question many South Africans are asking is whether the Safa top brass will get the best possible opposition for Bafana Bafana.

It does not make sense to play and win against ordinary teams, which could backfire when Bafana Bafana finally face the best in the world in 2010.

The success of any major tournament lies in the host team doing well, so it is important in this case for Bafana Bafana not to disappoint their followers and the world.

For a change, there were some smiles on several South African faces as Bafana Bafana ended 2008 on a dramatic note by winning four matches in a row.

Outstanding players were Teko Modise, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker, who often came on as a substitute.

While many might argue that the victories were not against the best teams, the most important thing is that the results were able to better our rankings from 85 to 76.

We are now at our worst ranking in Africa, 19th overall, since readmission to global football in 1992. This must be a cause for concern for Safa president Molefi Oliphant and his executive committee.

The good thing about the tournament in Ghana for South Africa's image was the great job done by our two referees - Jerome Damon and Enock Molefe there.

Damon handled the third place playoff and Molefe was one of the assistants in the final. Molefe and Damon are on the short-list of match officials for the 2010 World Cup.

It was a case of mixed fortunes for Amabinnesplaas, led by Serame "Rhee" Letsoaka. They won the revived Cosafa Cup in Mpumalanga in August.

But two months later, Amabinneplaas - officially known as the South African national development team - missed out on qualification for the inaugural African Nations Championships finals, losing 3-0 to Zimbabwe on aggregate.

The finals, where Zimbabwe and Zambia will represent the southern Africa region, are billed for Ivory Coast in March next year.

The Under-23s continued being dismal by once more failing to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing after bagging only one point from four qualifiers.

Letsoaka had more joy with the national Under-20s, winning his second international title. The former Free State Stars captain helped Amajita reclaim the Metropolitan Cosafa Youth Cup.

All eyes will still be on Amajita in January when they attempt to become the second South African Under-20 side to do well in the African Youth Championships and reach the World Youth Championships.

Under Shakes Mashaba, the class of 1997, which included Patrick Mbuthu, Nkhepitheni Matombo, Benni McCarthy and Steve Lekoelea, Amajita won a silver medal in Morocco but were bundled out in the first round of the World Youth Championships in Malaysia.

Ramahlwe Mphahlele, captain of the current team, is upbeat that they will emulate the success of the Class of 1997 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Mphlahlele said they planned to go a step further by getting South Africa's first medal in the World Youth Championships finals in Egypt.

The least said about Majimbos, the Under-17 national side, the better. They were shown an early exit in the 2009 African Under-17 Championships by losing to Malawi.

Majimbos' failure to do well in this tournament once more highlighted the urgent need by the Safa honchos to channel funds into the Transnet Football School of Excellence.

The school used to be a major feeder of Majimbos and other junior national teams until the academy started experiencing serious financial challenges five years ago.

Players like Steven Pienaar, Masilo Modubi, Andile Cele, Zitha Mofokeng, Nkosinathi Nhleko, Dominic Isaacs and Lynch Pule are some of its products who played for various national teams, starting with Majimbos.

It is a disgrace that the junior national teams have not made any significant impact on the continental championships.

We hope Amajita will end that drought in Kigali.

Turning to the women's teams, Banyana Banyana made South Africans proud by winning silver medals at the African Women's Championships in Malabo in November.

The toast of the South African team was Noko Matlou, who rattled the net six times to walk away with the Golden Boot.

Let's hope for a more successful 2009.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT