Bafana Bafana are not going to Russia next year after failing to qualify for the World Cup. The Stuart Baxter coached team failed to beat Senegal in their last two matches and that resulted in Senegal qualifying for the World Cup from their group which had the likes of Burkina Faso and Cape Verde Island. They will be watching on TV as always. Let us look at some of the reasons that led to the national team failing to qualify for the world cup.
Bafana Bafana’s chances of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia were not certain after the chop and change of players in the South African national team. The previous team that managed to beat Senegal for the first time in an official game was shuffled in the recent selection of players for the two friendlies against Angola and Guinea Bissau during the FIFA international break this week.
Interim coach Owen Da Gama has announced the team without a few players who were key for the win against Senegal and the reason given to that was that the players who were not selected are not performing for their teams. If the announced players were the ones going to continue with the qualification process then South Africa had no chance of qualifying.
The South African national technical team should have followed other top countries when it comes to selection of players for the national team. Continuity is the key for success in football and if they are serious about international football they must not judge players according to domestic form only, they should reflect back to all the international matches the team played and also the teams that played continental football should be given preference than players who are only performing locally. International football is very different to league football.
As things stand in South African football, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United players should be given preference when it comes to international football as they managed to win against top African sides during their CAF Champions league campaign and the Confederations Cup. Sundowns and SuperSport United players are the best and should have been used to help the country qualify for world cup. The core of Bafana Bafana should be Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United players.
Top sides like Egypt, DRC, and European sides like Spain are an example of how international football should look like. The core players of Zamalek and Al Ahly are the formation of the Egyptian national team as those teams are always doing well against other African teams each and every year but in South Africa it is different as core players are always coming from sides which have never played against other African teams.
Spain on the other side has players mainly from Barcelona and Real Madrid as those 2 teams are always doing well against other European teams in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup. They don’t elect players from Osasuna because they scored a brace over the weekend. International experience from club level is the most important aspect to look for when selecting players for international level.
If the mindset of South African football administrators does not change soon then the country should just forget about any other football tournament which requires qualification to participate. They must just wait for being host once again and be knocked out in the group stages like they did in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was a shame and the first time for the host nation of world cup to be knocked out in the group stages and if they haven’t learned their lessons then they must just forget about being one of the football’s top countries.
Another blow for Bafana Bafana was when Shakes Mashaba was sacked as Bafana coach. The man was doing well and the players were used to him as they were united and on a mission to qualify for the world cup but SAFA saw it in another way. SAFA are failing the nation and it is time the administrators start showing football brains.