SA team bullied in crucial final

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

ANTALYA - The reason Rosina Sedibane high school lost to Cyprus in the final of the International Schools Sports Federations' World Schools Championship was because they had not been able to change their system to suit the different opposition at a crucial stage of the tournament.

This was said by Alexander Harna, a technical committee member of the ISF Football and Slovak School Sport Association, after the South African team lost 1-4 to Cyprus in an exciting final played at the Antalyaspor stadium in Turkey on Sunday.

Harna said the other teams in the tournament had long been watching the SuperSport United academy attached school as they kept progressing through the stages.

"South Africa is known for its skills and control of the ball, which gives them 65percent of the possession in most games. But then Cyprus have physically bigger players who are also taller, which is important in tackling.

The weakness within the South African team is that there are a lot of passes going on to create scoring chances but they are short on shooting towards goal. But even those chances that are being created are squandered. They should be more tactical as they were not able to change their game. They played the same system even when faced with different opposition.

South African Schools Football Association president Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko believed the opposition was hungrier than the boys from Atterdigeville, Tshwane.

"The boys played very well and one can be proud of them. What we witnessed was the same South African sickness coming back to haunt us - failing to convert our chances. Maybe we need to go back and get our legends and masters who were strikers to get involved in schools football to guide these youngsters on the art of scoring goals."

Innocent Sirovha, the head of delegation, said: "Without a doubt we were the better team on the day and we are disappointed because nobody ever remembers who came second."

The team will land a OR Tambo International at 8.10am today.

(Sello Rabothata was in Turkey courtesy of the Sasfa)