Mixed reaction to Bafana rumpus

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

President Thabo Mbeki's statement that the name Bafana Bafana was not fit for a national team has been received with mixed feelings among the community.

Though most of the soccer administrators spoken to declined to comment, they disagreed with what the president said on national radio on Monday. It was clear that they did not want to be seen crossing swords with Mbeki.

But chairman of Moroka Swallows' minority shareholders and of the Top Six Taxi Association, Sicelo Mabaso, was against the president.

He said people need to understand that a nickname is just to pep up players and in the case of Bafana Bafana it does not mean that they are small boys.

"Let us not look into the nickname and the interpretations that could change the whole idea. The nickname is to idolise somebody or the team, because even players have nicknames and some are still called by them even now," said Mabaso.

"We have names such as Chincha Guluva, which means a person is a loafer or a thug, but in actual fact it's a nickname and the meaning is completely different from the name. Ask Kaizer Motaung."

Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung said it seemed the president was not well informed because people voted for that name.

"Our president must have been excited about Amabhokobhoko's win, to make a statement that was clearly not properly researched."

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono said: "He is the president of the country and I support him 100 percent in everything he says."

Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the Local Organising Committee, said: "I have not received any mandate from Safa, so I can't comment."

Safa chief executive Raymond Hack said he would only comment after reading the story from newspapers.

But he said: "Why a new name for 2010? The national team used the same Bafana Bafana name when they won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 - even when they played in the World Cup in France in 1998 and in Korea-Japan in 2002."

Veteran sports administrator Sam Ramsamy said: "That's the view expressed by the president. We'll have to examine what he said before we comment. But it's important that we listen to him because he is our president."

Former Federation Professional League official and former unionist Norman Middleton said he had never liked the name Bafana Bafana.

"The name does not suit the national team and it also does not symbolise anything."

lSee also Pages 8 and 9