Home Sport OPINION: Even Rassie would struggle to make world champs of Bafana

OPINION: Even Rassie would struggle to make world champs of Bafana

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Anyone who has an interest in the national football team will know that even two-time World Cup-winning coach Erasmus will come up short with Bafana Bafana.

South Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus looks on ahead of a training session at the Mayol Stadium in Toulon, southern France, on September 28, 2023, during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup. Picture: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU, AFP

Herman Gibbs

After the highly acclaimed Chasing The Sun 2 documentary was aired on Sunday night, it seemed that Zizi Kodwa’s quest to land Rassie Erasmus as Bafana Bafana’s coach wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In the wake of the Springboks’ 2023 Rugby World Cup quest in France, Sports Minister Kodwa praised the role of Bok boss Erasmus.

However, anyone who has an interest in the national football team will know that even two-time World Cup-winning coach Erasmus will come up short with Bafana Bafana.

The national football team coaches must deal with near-insurmountable problems.

A week ago, current Bafana Bafana mentor Hugo Broos flew out to Algeria for international friendlies without the benefit of a single training session.

To add insult to injury, some members of the squad were forced to travel later, and arrived a day before the first match against Andorra.

In the history of Springbok rugby, there has never been a case where a team flies abroad for matches without the benefit of at least one practice session.

The Springbok World Cup documentary showed how much time the coaching staff spent on planning meticulously for matches. It showed how much time the coaches spent executing their tactics at training sessions.

Two months ago, Bafana were given five days to prepare for the month-long Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. At least five key players arrived injured, and the hopelessly understaffed medical team dealt with a similar situation at most training camps for the national team.

The tried-and-tested solution has worked well – the walking wounded are rested for about five days.This rules out key players training with the squad, and is very disconcerting for coaches. These players spend more time in treatment rooms than on the training ground.

Broos had decided where it was best for the team to train for the Afcon, and he chose Cameroon.

Conditions in that central African country would be like those in Ivory Coast, the Afcon hosts.

There were also no funds for a camp in Cameroon.

Broos had asked the Premier Soccer League (PSL), the guardians of the DStv Premiership, to stop domestic fixtures before Christmas, but the PSL continued playing until December 31.

The early break ahead of Christmas would have allowed for a two-week training camp.

Broos’ employers, the South African Football Association (Safa), also failed him miserably by not securing suitable opponents for a warm-up match. Again, Safa was hamstrung because it did not have funds for stronger opposition.

Whereas the Springboks have much-needed support, Bafana coaches have very little to work with, and it seems there is no end in sight. During Broos’ tenure, he has never had more than a week to train the team. Against this background, it was a miracle that Bafana Bafana won the bronze medal at the Afcon.

Instead of wishing that Erasmus would coach the SA football team, Kodwa could help them by appealing to the PSL to consider what is best for Bafana.

Recently, Broos said clubs in many countries do what is best for the national team. However, in South Africa, clubs do not consider Bafana at all.

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