Of course, We Support Bafana Bafana! But We Don’t Like When They Can’t Score Goals! By Cheryl Roberts

18 Jan

On the eve of AFCON 2013, to be hosted by South Africa and staged at various venues in our 2010 Football World Cup host country, it appears that our beloved national football team Bafana Bafana is not only playing other AFCON opponents but are seemingly also up against their country’s supporters.

When President Jacob Zuma visited Bafana Bafana to wish them well and convey South Africa’s support, President Zuma stressed to Bafana Bafana they are not to worry about the criticism and negative opinions about their play; instead, they are to concentrate on doing their best.

Nothing wrong with those remarks from SA’s President. I would endorse that encouragement. However, after much criticism, ridicule and withdrawal of support, following bad performances it would appear that Bafana Bafana doesn’t have the support or respect of the country they play for and represent: that South Africans are against their national football team.

Seemingly, Bafana Bafana has two opponents: one being the team on the field and the other being a team South Africa of anti-Bafana Bafana spectators.

I am not against our beloved national team, Bafana Bafana. What I don’t like and what I detest seeing is our national team being unable to win. A national team unable to score goals and who are not one of Africa’s leading football playing countries, despite South Africa being one of Africa’s richest football playing countries.

I know it’s not easy to win on the field. I know that the beautiful game which is played in just about every working class community across the world, is extremely competitive and that winning international matches, tournaments and trophies is no easily achieved challenge.

South Africa got automatic entry into AFCON 2013 Finals and is participating in AFCON 2013 Finals on a host country ticket. The reality existed that Bafana Bafana might not have qualified for AFCON 2013 Finals. SA also did not qualify for AFCON 2010, despite being FIFA’s 2010 Football World Cup Finals host country.

South Africans love the beautiful game; we support our national football team. What we don’t support and give acknowledgment to is a Bafana Bafana team that can’t score goals and win matches, especially in lieu of the fact that football is a heavily funded sport and SA’s professional league is one of the best and richest on the African continent.

No, we are not just recklessly criticising our national football team; neither do we think they are inferior because they are South African and neither have we lost all faith in Bafana Bafana.

What we are critical of is Bafana Bafana on the field; the Bafana that has a low world ranking and is not one of Africa’s best football teams and boasts no world class internationals; this after hosting a football World Cup and with all the resources and money that the sport receives.

In wishing Bafana Bafana only the best, saying that we want them to perform well and urging them to ignore the rampant criticism, President Zuma made it look like South Africans are against their country’s football team and that it’s a scenario of ‘us – Bafana’ versus ‘them – South African supporters’.

I do get disappointed when Bafana lose and go down on international and CAF rankings. I am critical when Bafana lose matches they should win and I don’t have confidence in the team when they are on a losing streak. And this is because our Bafana Bafana doesn’t deliver positive results on the field.

And yes, as consumers of the beautiful game, it’s our privilege and right to either criticise or applaud our national football team. How can we accept our national team’s low ranking, goal drought and successive losses and draws when we know the sport of football and the national team should be producing and delivering POSITIVELY.

After all the funding and sponsorship given to football, we are asking why we not producing world class football players and winning matches?

SA’s youth football teams have over the years been weak, failing to qualify for Africa’s youth finals and for world youth tournaments. Why are we in this state? (this requires analysis, in a separate article, of the state of football in South Africa).

I do support my country’s national football team, but I don’t like when they can’t score goals and don’t win. I understand that winning football matches are no easy challenges, unless you are playing very, very weak opponents.

I can’t accept a weak Bafana Bafana team and players who don’t give 100% effort and contribution. And neither do I think supporters and fans should not be critical of Bafana’s dismal performances.

Despite the disappointment of much mediocre play and losses, coupled with our criticism, when AFCON 2013 kicks off in Johannesburg on Saturday 19 January, I will be a Bafana Bafana supporter and fan.

I would be delighted should they win AFCON 2013, but I won’t accept ‘they did their best’ if they display poor quality and dismal performance football.Image

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