Even though there was the expected bickering between the PSL and Safa over Bafana Bafana players, the new year started with excitement and anticipation because of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament currently taking place in Ivory Coast.
A lot has happened since the tournament started and fans are being treated to a humdinger of matches, goals and a diski razzmatazz. There’s also a lot of activity behind the scenes, far away from the TV cameras.
Our tjatjaraag Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa was filmed inside the Bafana Bafana change rooms at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, in Korhogo, giving some coaching tips to the players after their match against Mali. We admire Kodwa’s energy levels but his itch not to let an opportunity pass him by is uncalled for.
Politicians should know their place and boundaries. He really looked and sounded like a palooka when he offered tactics to the players, leaving Bafana coach Hugo Broos looking sheepish and probably asking himself what the hell was going on there.
Bafana lost the match 2-0 and we’re hoping that was the last time we saw the overzealous Kodwa – he probably thinks he is the iconic Nelson Mandela, and this is the 1996 Afcon. For his efforts, Kodwa has already set himself up as contender for Moegoe of the Year, so early in the year.
While the top countries Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon and Ghana are finding the going tough at the tournament, it is the same for Bafana, who were dismantled by the man-mountains of Mali in the opening round of matches.
As expected, the SA fans did not waste time in turning against the team and throwing shade at the team. South African fans are fickle at times. Before the tournament, they had confidence in the team and were even praising Broos for his squad selection. They went as far as saying Broos chose players by virtue of merit and not favouritism, as it had been the case previously, with many a Bafana coach.
The supporters turned vile as soon as Percy Tau missed that penalty kick, and it got worse when Mali pounced and slotted two goals past SA skipper Ronwen Williams. A wave of criticism has befallen the team, and the nation has seemingly given up on the team.
The patriot in me says that it is not doom and gloom yet for the team. Tau and his teammates may have fluffed their lines against Mali, but they still have a good chance of redeeming themselves.
Today, they are facing neighbours Namibia and on any other day, SA should be able to have the Brave Warriors’ number.
Namibia may have caused the biggest upset when they nailed Tunisia 1-0 in their first match but a whole lot of Namibian stars are plying their trade in Mzansi’s Premier Soccer League and Broos’ players should have a plan to contain them.
Bafana’s supporters cannot give up so meekly on the team. It is still pretty much early stages and there’s still a long way to go in the tournament.