Hard work is best luck we will ever have, and still every win will be a bonus

Those football fans who watched the national team play Swaziland last Tuesday will have noticed one simple but telling tactic.

Those football fans who watched the national team play Swaziland last Tuesday will have noticed one simple but telling tactic.

It was the fact that our boys seemed very keen to pass the ball to a teammate, whether he was ahead or to their back. The ball moved from one foot to another and was not kicked forward randomly in the hope that someone would score.

Of course, nothing much came of the tactic. There were long periods in which our boys caressed the ball and passed it from striker to defender to defender to striker.

In fact, at one point the ball moved from the Swazi goalmouth to the South Africa goalmouth without being touched by the opposition.

It was not a great performance, but I felt that we are at the beginning of something here. I felt that if we give this team two years to build itself into something, coach Carlos Parreira might deliver something credible in the future.

Understand me. We are not going to win the World Cup, okay? But we will be able to acquit ourselves well in some of the continental matches.

I agree with assistant national coach Pitso Mosimane that what we need is time.

Before last week's game he said: "It is always nice to win, but we need to look at the bigger picture this time. The nation cannot reach conclusions after the first match and after what is essentially a training exercise. We should never be afraid to experiment and even lose."

Over the next few months and years there will be a lot of pressure on Parreira, Mosimane and their colleagues to win. But we must acknowledge that the past 10 years have been an absolute disaster for our football. It will take time to rebuild this team into something workable.

To expect to win now would be unrealistic. I have a tip for the average South African football fan: don't expect to win for at least a year. That way, every win we get will feel like a bonus.

As for the team, all I can do is wish them a lot of luck. But they must remember that hard work is the best luck you can ever have.

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