BWF: Bafana Bafana
In the week that saw us reach the magical “One Year To Go” milestone, (on Thursday the 11th at 4pm for those not paying attention!) and the kickoff to the FIFA Confederations Cup at Ellis Park earlier today, the blatant attempt of the South African national football team to hold their employers to ransom with their ridiculous threat to not play unless SAFA agree to a R34-million bonus package for the team leads us to designate Bafana Bafana as the recipients of this weeks’ BlaBla Blogs’ Bad Week For Award.
Kudos to the SAFA Executive for not bowing to the threat (as they have in the past), and limiting the amount that they will pay as bonuses to less than half of that demanded by the players (they’ll receive a collective R14-million, if they win).
The players’ actions are now so common a ploy taken by the national team on the eve of any major tournament, as to be laughably expected. Comments from various writers, reporters and many supports all had a common thread: “Ridiculous!” And many slammed the team for being “greedy”.
The stupidity by the team is that the bonuses that they demanded are for winning the tournament. This a day after we heard a number of the “senior” members of the team publicly informing us that they knew “very little, almost nothing” about the Iraqi team that they faced in the Opening Match earlier today. And then not seeming too concerned about this at all. Even Coach Santana seemed completely ignorant of the level of the opposition. He suggested that “their number 5 is very good, I think”. This arrogance and over-confidence was then compounded by the bonus demands made the next day.
The teams’ performance tonight should have reflected the skills, talents and standard that a R34-million bonus would warrant. It did none of these.
In fact, I will perhaps risk the irate comments of many and go so far as to suggest that Bafana Bafana flirted with embarrassing us all as they went about their business today. For most of the first half it seemed as if the team were playing together for the first time – poorly read passing, no fluid play, very little communication – especially at the front.
Their on-pitch performance confirmed this writers’ worst fears. Bafana Bafana were simply ordinary in what should have been a significantly more closely contested match, with a result that should have reflected the expectations of the entire nation. The teams are closely ranked on the FIFA standings, and the match should have produced much more entertaining football. All that besides the fact that this as the opening match of the tournament, and would have been an ideal opportunity to showcase the team.
Thankfully the fans at the stadium, the wonderful performances during the Opening Ceremony, the excellent broadcast & camera work, and the standard of the stadium itself redeemed some pride for us all. The pitch could have been more level though – some damage caused by the recent British Lions match played there did cause a number of ball bobbles and player stumbles.
To Bafana we say: if you want to be taken seriously and be rewarded seriously and receive the status and bonuses of a professional national sporting team, then start acting seriously and start behaving professionally. Put up or shut up. Go from “Boys” to men. Produce results that show your levels of skill are worth the extortionate amounts of money that you demand. See your obligations to represent the people of South Africa as a serious and responsible one. You do yourselves, SAFA, and the nation in general (whether football fans or not) a terrible disservice through your behaviour and actions.
BlaBla Blogs’ Bad Week For Award goes to
[This columnist, and everyone else here at The BlaBla Blog HQ are committed Bafana supporters, and will continue to cheer for the team regardless of their performances this week. As we are sure will the thousands of fellow South African fans. We just hope that they will bring some sensibility to their actions, whether they win or lose.]