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SA Teams seem to have lost their fear of Naija


Gone was the sense of dread, foreboding and agony that used to accompany any fixture of whatever description against a team from Naija

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Mzansi’s senior Men’s and Women’s football teams ran out against their arch rivals just this past weekend and it occurred to me that we have seemingly lost our fear of our big friends from the west coast of the continent.

Proof of this seeming loss of fear of the west African brothers and sisters was much in evidence when especially the senior Men’s team played their counterparts from Nigeria. A glance at the screeds of media write-ups showed plenty of praise for our performance against the Nigerians.

Gone was the sense of dread, foreboding and agony that used to accompany any fixture of whatever description against a team from Naija. These days we seemingly take it all in our stride as we contemplate yet another day at the office. It used to be so bad that there would sometimes be a bad odour wafting about without anything rotting in sight. You know that feeling neh?

Now, these days, we have the likes of Percy Tau in our frontline of the Men’s team who so nonchalantly waltzes past huge Nigerian defenders that you wonder how Bafana got themselves into such a tight knot in the first place in the bad old days.

The same thing used to happen when Banyana Banyana played the Super Falcons. This was especially so in the playing days of our now national Women’s coach Desiree Ellis and former star player Portia Modise.

Now the pity about Saturday’s main game featuring the men was that Nigeria actually did not get to score at all and we did not score enough goals to guarantee us a place in the finals . It is accepted that the first goal they got was gifted to them via a defensive mistake at the back between our central defence and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

That is the sort of thing that happens on any other day in football.

We, on the other hand, had the necessary resourcefulness to pluck up sufficient courage to soldier on despite that blunder. And we lived to score another one, this time at the right end of the field. Dare I say it, Nigeria never came to the party goalwise.

OK, the point is that we should have bypassed the bus that they parked in front of their poles and scored another goal just so that we could make sure we are in the caravan to the CAF finals come next year.

The national women’s team had no qualms in putting the Falcons in their place as they contemplate a spot in their Afcon finals.

At present Banyana are tied for top spot in their group as they have three points along with Zambia.

Banyana’s remaining games, now that they have dispensed with the Falcons, are nothing to shake and shiver about. Matter of fact I’d be super surprised if they don’t stroll into a comfortable place in that group with their next two games tomorrow against Equatorial Guinea and against Zambia on Saturday.

So far they look good for the course.

Oh by the way, can somebody tell me whether Thulani Serero has yet rendered that apology to Safa for absconding from the national team’s fixtures in favour of his UEFA league appointments?

Anyway one can’t blame the young man for that attitude. I mean really now, who buys a top of the range Rolex watch and keeps it in the dresser where none of your favourite people can see it?

That was by the way. What are we likely to face in Libya when next we meet them.

Our last encounter was not an especially tearaway success. And this is despite that team not having a country to call their own.