Catch a wake-up, Safa

It has been 11 years since Amajita qualified for the World Youth Championships, a prestigious soccer tournament for the Under-20 national soccer sides.

At that time, Shakes Mashaba was in charge of the platoon that qualified by virtue of winning a silver medal at the African Youth Championships.

It is history that most of the players from that team went on to represent South Africa with aplomb at various competitions.

They include Patrick Mbuthu, Steve Lekoelea, Benni McCarthy, Matthew Booth, Quinton Fortune, David Kannemeyer and Stanton Fredericks.

Since then, various Amajita teams have unsuccessfully tried to qualify after poor performances on the continent.

But there is hope now in the Rwanda-bound Class of 2008 put together by coach Serame "Rhee" Letsoaka and his technical team.

It is, however, a disgrace, if not scandalous, that African giants like Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Cameroon are in camp preparing for the continental finals, starting in Kigali on January 18.

Amajita are in the same group with Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Egypt, but South Africa are still to start with their final preparations.

Even the hosts, Rwanda, are up north in Tunisia for their final preparations.

After their tour to Rwanda last week was cancelled, Letsoaka wanted to at least start their final preparations on January 4 but Safa chief executive Raymond Hack is not budging.

Letsoaka and his management were told in no uncertain terms that their camp will start on January 8 as planned, allegedly due to lack of funds.

It is surprising that the story of lack of funds is only raised by Safa top brass when other national teams like Amajita, Majimbos or Banyana Banyana ask for camps.

Bafana Bafana seem to be the only national team treated with kid gloves. There is always money available in bulk for them.

It is laughable that the Safa honchos gave Amajita 11 days to prepare for the Cosafa Youth Cup in Kimberley - which they won - but now they have been told to prepare for a continental tournament in 10 days, two of which will be lost when they travel from Johannesburg to Kigali via Nairobi.

Can someone at Safa House please catch a wake-up for a change?