Trend is quiet disgusting

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Right! I am not going to sit here and pretend I expected Mamelodi Sundowns to do any better than they did against Al Ahly (0-2 for a 4-2 aggregate loss) at the weekend.

All I can say to Bafana ba style is that I am one of those not embarrassed of being a South African. Great fight! Now, let's go to the coal burning in my chest. I have been observing a trend which is at best worrying and, at worst, downright disgusting.

This thing about certain club officials and frustrated former players always dropping the line: "It's because he/they never played the game" when they cannot sustain an argument or get their way. If you ask me, this is an imported mentality from Europe. A mentality partly to blame for England not reaching their full potential since 1966.

Back here it is used to undermine achievements of others and it is reactionary if you ask me and I'll tell you why. While it can be somehow justified in Europe where, for decades, if not centuries, youth have had a choice from cricket, rugby, athletics, water-polo, swimming, boxing, gymnastics, the list is endless, the same cannot be said of South Africans, especially black youth.

All we had was a soccer ball or rags formed into a round shape. Now, show me a black boy who has never been involved in the game and I will show you a liar. We always knew there would be those lucky enough, not necessarily the best to break into the professional ranks.

I do admit, there will be an odd Michel Platini here and a Franz Backenbauer there, but being a star professional does not translate into an equally good coach or administrator.

Even some of the proponents of this pathetic theory were themselves not groomed by star players but your passionate uncle or even an old man with no relations.

They played and shone in teams run by people who never reached professional ranks. So what gives this lot the right to think they have a monopoly of football intelligence, all its aspects.

I am not against honouring legends and documenting history but people should know that the game does not revolve around them and owes them nothing. Football was there before they were born and it will remain long after they are gone.

My advice is that soccer players must arm themselves with relevant skills rather than blame everybody but themselves in their post stardom days. With relevant expertise, they stand a chance of jumping the queue, anyway.

Finally. Let me congratulate Doctor Khumalo for taking the marriage plunge. I was disturbed, though, by a letter in one soccer magazine which I found tasteless. In fact, it is outright defamation of character.