Wonke ignored

When Steve Komphela was unveiled as the national Under-23 coach two years ago, Safa announced a massive project to assemble a brand new team for the Beijing Olympics.

When Steve Komphela was unveiled as the national Under-23 coach two years ago, Safa announced a massive project to assemble a brand new team for the Beijing Olympics.

Operation Wonke Wonke was a project that Safa were using to identify talent from the nine provinces in preparation for the Beijing Olympics.

Komphela was quick to point out that the impressive players would later be joined by the youngsters from the professional clubs when they integrated into the team.

A pool of 40 youngsters from various provinces were selected, though there were others who were good but did not make the cut.

This is my bone of contention in the wake of the circus that occurred in the past six days when the team was supposed to assemble for the All Africa Games (AAG).

For clarity, Komphela and his technical staff selected two separate teams for the Eight Nations Cup (ENC) in Gauteng and the AAG.

Komphela said he wanted to have a look at new players, such as London-based Clive Moyo-Modise at the recent tournament.

Others included Kagiso Senamela, a youngster who has been doing well at AmaZulu where he was on loan from Kaizer Chiefs and Tukkies' George Maluleke.

Komphela's argument was that he wanted to rest some of the key players such as Lerato Chabangu, James Madidilane and Innocent Mdledle.

Last Tuesday, Komphela started moaning to an extent that he threatened to resign after certain clubs refused to release their selected players.

At that stage I started asking myself: where is the pool of players that Komphela is supposed to have from Operation Wonke Wonke?

Komphela did not have Plan B and C for Algeria. This is where Wonke Wonke should have rescued the country, notwithstanding the usual hassles from professional clubs.

Only three players - Kirk Leray, Mokhethi Koloko and Luvhengo Mungomeni from Wonke Wonke - were included in the make-shift team to Algeria.

While Cameroon used the ECN to prepare themselves for the AAG, South Africa chose not to get the strongest possible team. I'm not trying to protect Safa or some selfish clubs, but Komphela should have known long ago that AAG was not a sanctioned Fifa tournament.

Komphela is not the first to find himself in a similar situation. Previous coach Shakes Mashaba used to make noise very early when clubs refused to release players.

I find it unacceptable that Komphela waited until seven days before departure to complain about the unpatriotic clubs.

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