Bafana need winning mentality, not excuses

Patriotism! Fanaticism!

Patriotism! Fanaticism!

And reality.

These are some of the things that have been going through my mind in recent weeks.

The reasons shouldn't be hard for you to find.

We are all aware of the mammoth task awaiting us as a country and Bafana Bafana in particular as a team as we head towards the Confederations Cup in June and the big one in the form of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

We have had different views.

Some are advocating that patriotism should come first.

We should root for our team come rain or shine. They need us more than ever now.

That is not far from the fanatics among us. There are people who honestly believe that we are world beaters.

It's just a matter of time, they say.

This is the group that always has hope springing eternally in their lives. They also believe we are going to rule the world as far as the beautiful game is concerned.

Methinks otherwise.

Me and a few others are realists.

We know our capabilities.

We know our players.

What we do not know is what our coach has in mind.

But we do know he doesn't inspire much confidence.

We have listened to his excuses.

Honestly, we do not know what else he will say as a reason why we are so good against second- and third-tier teams from around the African continent, beat jet-lagged European minnows, then fail dismally when we come up against any decent side that can play.

A few months back that's exactly what this column warned against.

Let's stop talking about the so-called five-game unbeaten run as if those we beat were the best we could come across.

Why, we even celebrate beating a Malawi team made up of home-based clowns who had nothing to lose but were glad to have toured South Africa.

Bafana Bafana have a lot of ground to cover if we harbour any hopes of a decent run in any of the two competitions we will be hosting.

All of a sudden we are told our boys are weak. Remember Chile?

It happened again after the game against Portugal.

The boys need to be beefed up.

Excuse me!

Bafana Bafana players have always been around the same size as the present squad and performed well under Clive Barker, Jomo Sono, Shakes Mashaba and even Trott Moloto.

The common thread among all these mentioned coaches is that they are all home grown - just like the players.

As I am writing this I am in Turkey with Rosina Sedibane High School from Atteridgeville who are taking part in the International Schools Federation tournament in Antalya.

They started off very badly, losing the first two games 1-0 to Turkey and then 2-1 to Slovakia.

One began to doubt their credentials and thought maybe Joel Natalino Santana was right. Our boys are too small.

But, before one could say 'let's go home', the boys from the SuperSport United school blasted Poland 15-0 and followed that up with an impressive 4-1 victory over the equally big Greeks.


Size doesn't count.

Otherwise Lionel Messi would not be playing football. Neither would the great Diego Maradona graced the pitches.

Let us try to play to our strengths and not emulate others who are doing what they do because of their physical attributes.

Anyway, who is to blame for our physique if our technical team ignores so-called big players like Moroka Swallows' Sandile Ndlovu who is scoring goals with sickening monotony for the Birds.

The little ones from Rosina Sedibane have one more game to play and then they are into the knockout stages.

Coach Godfrey Mosoetsa has not as yet made excuses for the two games lost in the group stages.

All he did was go back to the drawing board and map a new way to tackle the opponents and the boys responded.

Had they been told they are too small, one shudders to think of the consequences.

Now let's stop the excuses every time Bafana Bafana lose and find ways to instill a winning mentality.

Otherwise Santana and Safa should just cut their losses and bid each other farewell.