Bafana mirror mercenary spirit in politics

BAFANA Bafana operate like a mercenary force. Mercenaries are defined as persons who "work only for monetary gain" they also lack "any sense of honour and are not trustworthy".

BAFANA Bafana operate like a mercenary force. Mercenaries are defined as persons who "work only for monetary gain" they also lack "any sense of honour and are not trustworthy".

There is the added element of fighting under foreign leadership. In fact, the whole Premier Soccer League is organised on these principles. Our top teams are coached by well-paid whites. The PSL is white on top and black at the bottom.

However, if we are honest, our national team is a mirror image of what is wrong with our country. In our national politics we can say we have a black government with a white mind. Research shows that democracy has benefited whites more than blacks over the past 15 years. Our national politics are imbued with a mercenary spirit. The national purse is there for the looting in exchange for maintaining the racist status quo we inherited from the past.

What little transformation has taken place, such as BEE and affirmative action, have been calculated to line the pockets of a few, mercenary-style.

This mercenary spirit drives our nation. Think about the South African Football Association officials who secured us the poisonous 2010 World Cup, for which they gave each other huge bonuses. They were merely following our politicians and private-sector leaders who regularly steal from the poor.

The World Cup is an expensive piglet in a sack. We bought a thing we haven't seen and now it's going to come out and bite us. Already its cost has grown out of all proportion.

Soccer can become politics by other means. In the 1986 World Cup Argentina, through the splendid goals of Maradona, settled the political matter of Britain's bullying of Argentina in the Falklands War. What was lost on the battlefield was won on the soccer field.

Standing up against one's oppressors can be a sporting matter. Think how Muhammad Ali used his popularity to promote black liberation or the dignified defiance of Tommie Smith and John Carlos' black power salutes at the 1968 Olympics.

Bafana, like our politicians, lack a national purpose and character. These things can't be bought or imported. A few years ago Orlando Pirates were allowed to play our brand of football and humiliated Tottenham Hotspur. I swear Steve Lekoelea kicked the ball into the air and willed it back to him - and it obeyed - sheer black magic. What a memorable game!

The soccer blacks played during apartheid was far superior to the kick-and-hope brand we are subjected to now. Think of the brilliance of Ace Ntsoelengoe, Jomo Sono, Ace Mnini, Teenage Dladla, Computer Lamola, Patrick Molala, Masterpieces Moripe. Think of the proud black wall created by Patson "Kamuzu" Banda.

Legendary stuff. There were many more who pushed our play to dizzying heights. We played to please and entertain, but played well. In a sense the ideals that drove our style were communal and selfless, like a guerrilla army ready to die for its ideals, not monetary compensation.

But democracy changed all that.

Our politicians drilled into our hearts that the country is available for looting. Our soccer couldn't escape this national disease.

The bitter truth is that we are a ja baas people, driven by slavemasters. Well, slaves are known to be productive because slavery doesn't encourage innovation and initiative.

Slaves are a pathetic and terrified lot.

Until our national politics are driven by a principled desire to serve the interests of the majority, it's hard to see how our national team can be inspiring.