Let football be played and not made into a silly thesis

The experts have spoken and, as usual, the poppycock of their "wisdom" leaves a bitter aftertaste.

The experts have spoken and, as usual, the poppycock of their "wisdom" leaves a bitter aftertaste.

The language of modern-day football has stopped being a source of amusement for me because of its dottiness. Now it just plain baffles me.

For a nation preparing to host - and hopefully conquer - the world in 2010, we have a schizophrenic way of going about things.

We play dreadful football and bomb out of a continental showpiece that, logically, could have been the only barometer to gauge our preparedness for the World Cup in a few hundred days. And what do those who speak for us say? We haven't done too badly!

Yes, we are fine, they say, all hands on deck. We'll just play friendlies and, voila, be ready for the first World Cup on African soil!

I don't know what books the likes of Joel Natalino Santana read. What I know is he takes home far more than the Reserve Bank governor.

I'm equally perplexed by Raymond Hack's thought process - does he think and speak or vice versa?

The buffoonery of Bafana Bafana will persist until we go back to basics and allow football to be played and not made into a thesis.

Football today has inane phrases such as a midfielder "playing behind the strikers". God help our game. Where else can a midfielder play - behind the opponents' goalposts?

A favourite Aaron Mokoena line is: "We showed a lot of character." What does this mean if we don't see people flocking to Bafana games to witness this character?

I now know I can stand kwaito muso Metusselah Mdu Masilela telling television viewers they'll take the genre "to another level". It's just another hackneyed saying that jars the ears but it is more colourful than the baloney spewed by the guys in football.

In his post-match interview Nigerian coach Shaibu Amodu had "winning" in his statement. Santana chose "satisfied".

I don't know if the words of late great UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell "Red" Sanders were ever translated into Portuguese, but Santana needs to get his hands on Sanders' work.

It was Sanders who said these words: "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

Is this Greek to Santana? Former Chelsea mentor Jose Mourinho was a loudmouth. But he knew you don't just go out on the field "to enjoy yourselves", to use another unfortunate local football quote.

The game of billions, for Mourinho, and I guess other soccer lovers, is about winning.

"Arsenal have won that advantage, nobody gave it to them," said Mourinho. "By playing fantastic football and by winning matches and by winning trophies, they won the respect that the opponent has for them."

It is the firm view of Santana and Hack that we'll win the respect of our opponents. But how? By playing in a way that satisfies Santana, while losing?

Mourinho again: "You have to win and especially, as I have, you have to win a trophy for the first time."

What, in heaven's name, if not by winning trophies, does our national coach think will endear him to our hearts?

In my days, and the days of Pitso Mosimane, football was a game of hoodlums with little time for big English and obfuscation.

You played to win.