The beautiful game is not all about brawn

The past two weeks have been explosive as far as sport is concerned on the international front, even though in some events South Africans were dismal failures.

The past two weeks have been explosive as far as sport is concerned on the international front, even though in some events South Africans were dismal failures.

Sports by its nature broke a few hearts here and there while at the same time it also brought endless joy for some.

Last night some greats were due to play in a special match in honour of Nelson Mandela, who was celebrating his 89th birthday.

Delayed happy birthday Madiba!

On Sunday night, in a clash of football giants, Copa America favourites Argentina faced Brazil in Venezuela in the final of the tournament.

You will recall that former soccer maestro Steve "Kalamazoo" Mokone had told us how the blue and white stripped Argentina would dethrone Brazil.

But soccer being an interesting game of opinions that it is, Brazil went on to produce some stunning performance to beat their rivals 3-0. I would not be surprised if Brazil fans were also stunned by their team's performance.

Says a humbled Mokone: "Brazil always seem to rise to the occasion. They find ways to win. Count them out at your own peril. However, I still think, player for player, Argentina have better players."

Brazil systematically dismembered Argentina in that clash. They opened the game with some tactics akin to coach Jomo Sono's by intimidating their opponents with constant body-checks and quickly closing down space.

But I wonder if our "experts" watched some of the midget-like players on display in this tournament, who were superb on the counter-attacks.

The tournament also reminded me of something that happened in our disappointing Africa Cup of Nations early last year when we were unconvincingly told "size mattered".

Dimunitive players like Joseph Makhanya were said to have been our downfall in that team.

This sparked debate, which was also loaded with ridiculous suggestions that we should encourage our big-structured West African brothers to consider changing their citizenships for our sake. What nonsense!

Sometimes people either argue for the sake of arguing or do so because they never got to see some of the magic once dished out by the smaller-built players.

Let me mention four of such players who were just majestic on our football pitches between the 1970s and the '90s - Elias "Shuffle" Mokopane, Archie "Juluka" Radebe, Zane "Magic Feet" Moosa and Basil "Section 10" Gwangwa.

Yes, we saw some clones of these pocketsized, yet classy, players in the line-ups of Brazilian, Argentinian and other South American teams. But no one among the commentators we listened to rubbished their sizes.

Anyway, the likes of Mokopane proved to all and sundry that football is not so much about brawn but that it is also about having some quality "stuff" between your ears.

Moving forward, in rugby Amabhokobhoko lost a few friends in their tour Down Under two weeks ago.

Coach Jake White took along a B side, only to antagonise both his opponents and fans in the Tri-Nations.

White insists though that he was doing this to build a stronger squad for the Rugby World Cup in France, come September.

Let's give the man a chance, asseblief, tog!

l It looks like as long as our country still carries a "name" imposed on us by colonialists, we will have to accept that wrong anthems will continue to be "erroneously" played.

The organisers of the All Africa Games on Saturday returned us to the apartheid era with their playing of Die Stem when three of our swimmers received their medals.

l A short man called Maseru Koaho from Vosloorus was last Saturday buried like the community tower that he was. "Serus" was one of those people who worked tirelessly, pumping excitement about the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals here at home.

What a pity that he left this world just 1068 days before the kickoff. At his funeral, people shed tears of sorrow. However, there was also time for jokes, as Koaho would have approved.

Re roballe, Serus!