Tag Archives: #TheBootRoom

The Dual Citizenship Bafana Bafana, In An Alternative Universe

The results have been less than impressive, losing 4 competitive fixtures out of 7, at international level, is tantamount to regression, especially when one looks closely at the team selection and tactics deployed. The 7 Lessons From 7 Games We Can't Build For 2022 With 27+ Year Old New Internationals We Can't Play A High Line With Slow Defenders We Can't Counter Press Without A Natural No: 10 We Can't Keep Playing Without Recognized Elite Strikers We Can't Call-Up Foreign Based Players To Warm The Bench We Can't Keep Shunning Foreign Born Players We Can't Keep Overestimating The PSL Standard Click To Tweet

The dust has barely settled, on yet another failed major international tournament qualification attempt, while Stuart Baxter remains adamant that he will see his tenure through, and only resign if the team fails to qualify for the 2019 African Cup Of Nations, the entire football fraternity remains in doubt, regarding the direction our senior men’s national team has been heading. Another major tournament, where we are forced to adopt nations to support, due to our own failure to manage our vast resources adequately, it’s become a bad habit, that needs to be addressed.

Baxter raised many eyebrows, when he confessed to having no written mandate from SAFA, when he took over, a far cry from the Vision 2022 ideal, that we have all been grading the system upon; the lack of a mandate, should’ve been evident in Baxter’s team selections, for some of the most pivotal clashes in his spell thus far. Only once has Baxter started a game, with an XI that was average aged 26, the “max” age for us to be blooding player in, as we build for the next International cycle, while being competitive today, like our adopted World Cup nation Nigeria did successfully.

#TheBootRoom

Stuart Baxter | May 4th, 2017 –

Played: 7
Won: 2
Lost: 5
Scored: 9
Conceded: 12

Game 1 | Away | June 10th | 2019 AFCON Qualifier
NGR 0 – 2 RSA | Rantie & Tau Goals, Mphahlele & Dolly Assists
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 28
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 24
Key Outliers | Langerman (31) & Furman (29) In Starting XI
Verdict | Off Vision 2022, On Mission 2019

Game 2 | @Home | June 13th | Friendly International
RSA 1 – 2 ZAM | Manyama Goal, Erasmus Assist
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 26
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 24
Key Outliers | Mabunda (29) Ngoma (29) & Hlanti (27) In Starting XI
Verdict | On Vision 2022, Off Mission Job Security

Game 3 | Away | September 1st | 2018 World Cup Qualifier
CDV 2 – 1 RSA | Rantie Goal, Langerman Assist
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 27
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 28
Key Outliers | Langerman (31) & Furman (29) In Starting XI
Verdict | On Vision 2022, Off Mission 2018

Game 4 | @Home | September 5th | 2018 World Cup Qualifier
RSA 1 – 2 CDV | Jali Goal
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 29
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 28
Key Outliers | Sandilands (34), Gould (34), Kekana (32), Furman (29) & Grobler (29) In Starting XI
Verdict | Off Vision 2022, Off Mission 2018

Game 5 | @Home | October 7th | 2018 World Cup Qualifier
RSA 3 – 1 BFA | Tau, Zwane & Vilakazi Goals, Daniels, Jali & Tau Assists
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 28
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 25
Key Outliers | Daniels (33), Gould (34), Mkhize (29), Hlanti (27) & Vilakazi (28) In Starting XI
Verdict | Off Vision 2022, On Mission 2018

Game 6 | @Home | November 10th | 2018 World Cup Qualifier
RSA 0 – 2 SEN
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 29
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 27
Key Outliers | Hlanti (27), Gould (34), Daniels (33), Mkhize (29), Furman (29) & Vilakazi (28) In Starting XI
Verdict | Off Vision 2022, Off Mission 2018

Game 7 | Away | November 14th | 2018 World Cup Qualifier
SEN 2 – 1 RSA | Tau Goal, Dolly Assist
RSA Starting Lineup Average Age | 28
Opp Starting Lineup Average Age | 26
Key Outliers | Hlanti (27), Daniels (33), Gould (34), Mkhize (29), Furman (29) & Vilakazi (28) In Starting XI
Verdict | Off Vision 2022, Off Mission Job Security

The results have been less than impressive, losing 4 competitive fixtures out of 7, at international level, is tantamount to regression, especially when one looks closely at the team selection and tactics deployed.

The 7 Lessons From 7 Games

We Can’t Build For 2022 With 27+ Year Old New Internationals
We Can’t Play A High Line With Slow Defenders
We Can’t Counter Press Without A Natural No: 10
We Can’t Keep Playing Without Recognized Elite Strikers
We Can’t Call-Up Foreign Based Players To Warm The Bench
We Can’t Keep Shunning Foreign Born Players
We Can’t Keep Overestimating The PSL Standard

There are a few things I can understand, injuries and suspensions occur at any level, but a footballing nation such as ours, should have more in reserve than 30 year olds that barely dominate in our local league on a consistent basis. The tactical aspect has never been an Achilles Heel for Baxter, his Kaizer Chiefs team won playing a European influenced counter-pressing style, underpinned by experienced players in their primes, and pace provided by the youth in amply supply. His recent selections, have been head scratching to say the least, with elite talents in their prime often being overlooked, for “more experienced” peers, who have had ample opportunity at the highest level, and largely failed to help take the nation forward.

© Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Which brings me to now, the biggest draw Stuart Baxter had as Bafana coach, in today’s climate, for me personally, was his potential draw, in recruiting the plethora of South African passport holding footballers plying their trade abroad. None of which has occurred, on the contrary, Lars Veldwijk has been consistently overlooked under Baxter, when we badly needed a focal point upfront, while we saw Bradley Globler & Thamsanqa Gabuza selected instead; the same can be said at left fullback, where Kgosi Ntlhe should’ve been given a chance when Tsepo Masilela begun to age, yet he’s been constantly overlooked, to the detriment of his game, confidence and profile as a footballer. If Baxter seeks to truly help our national team, he needs to start improving the quality of our national depth chart in every single position, from now, until he leaves the hotseat. The legacy of Stuart Baxter as Bafana coach was never set to be one of accolades and silverware, he inherited an aged nucleus, with an exhausted fan base, that had all but given up hope; the time has come for him to pay it forward, and leave the next coach with a solid base of players to pick from and build with.

The Dual Citizenship Bafana | A Juxtaposed Reality | 3-3-2-1-1 “Expats United”

Key

# Player

DoB

Position/s

Nationalities

Pedigree

Current Club

National Team

 

1 Maarten van der Want 

Jan 15th, ‘95 | 22

GK
1, 91 m
Right Foot

Dutch
South African

ADO Den Haag Youth Team

Virtus Entella Olbia Calcio 1905 | Italy 🇮🇹

N/A

3 Nikola Tavares

Jan 17th, ‘99 | 18

CB
1, 76 m
Right Foot

Croatian
South African

Brentford Youth Team | Crystal Palace Youth Team

Crystal Palace | England 🇬🇧

Croatian U/18 & U/19 International

4 Keith Groeneveld

Jun 24th, ‘99 | 18

CB/ DM
1, 90 m
Right Foot

Belgian
South African

Royal Antwerp Youth Team | KV Mechelen Youth Team

Standard Lièrge | Belgium 🇧🇪

Belgian U/18 International

5 Loïc Ombala

Mar 31st, ’97 | 20

CB/ RB
1, 78 m
Right Foot

Cameroonian
South African

Team Vaud Yverdon Youth Team

FC Bavois FC Azzurri LS 90 | Switzerland 🇨🇭

N/A

2 Sylian Mokono

Mar 22nd, ’99 | 18

RB
1, 83 m
Right Foot

Dutch
South African

FC Utrecht Youth Team

FC Utrecht | The Netherlands 🇳🇱

N/A

6 Joel Untersee

Feb 11th, ’94 | 23

RB/ LB
1, 81 m
Right Foot

Swiss
South African

FC Zürich Youth Team | Juventus Youth Team | FC Vaduz

Brescia FC Empoli (On Loan From Juventus) | Italy 🇮🇹

Swiss U/15, U/16, U/17, U/18, U/19, U/20 & U/21 International

8 Phondo Wälläri

May 2nd, ’99 | 18

DLP, B2BM
Left Foot

Finnish
South African

FC Loppi | Riihimäen Palloseura | PK Keski – Uusimaa Youth Team

Pallokerho Keski – Uusimaa | Finland 🇫🇮

Finnish U/17 International

7 Siph Mdlalose

Jan 28th, ’99 | 18

RWM
1, 78 m
Right Foot

English
South African

Southampton Youth Team

Southampton | England 🇬🇧

N/A

11 Ambousoirya Mahadi

Mar 5th, ’99 | 18

LWM/ AM/ AF
Right Foot

French
South African

Olympique de Marseille Youth Team

Aubagne FC | France 🇫🇷

N/A

10 Tyrique Bartlett

Apr 14th, ’99 | 18

AF/ CF
1, 76 m
Right Foot

English
South African

University of Pretoria Youth Team

Newcastle United | England 🇬🇧

N/A

9 Marvin Graf

Aug 17th, ’95 | 22 CF
1, 88 m
Right Foot

Swiss
South African

FC Adliswil | FC Zürich Youth Team

FC Wohlen FC Zürich | Switzerland 🇨🇭

Swiss U/16, U/17, U/18 & U/19 International

12 Dani Amos

Feb 2nd, ’87 | 30

GK
1, 85 m
Right Foot

Israeli
English
South African

Kiyat Shmona | Hapoel Tel Aviv | Hapoel Acre

Maccabi Petah Tikva Maccabi Netanya | Israel 🇮🇱

Israeli U/21 International

13 Alessandro
Petrone

Oct 8th, ’96 | 21

RB/ LB
1, 87 m
Right Foot

Italian
South African

Benevento Youth Team | Torrecuso | Arzachena

Free Agent

N/A

14 Daniel Collins

Jun 15th, ’95 | 22

Utility Defender
Right Foot

Welsh
South African

Marconi | Bala Town | Wrexham | Rhyl | Colwyn Bay

Wrexham | Wales & England 🇬🇧

N/A

15 Dani Ladeira

May 28th, ’96 | 21

DLP, B2BM
1, 75 m
Right Foot

Portuguese
South African

Nacional Yout Team | Camacha | Carev Dvor

Enfield FC | England 🇬🇧

N/A

16 Max Falldorf

Mar 7th, ’98 | 19

DLP, AM, AP
1, 82 m
Left Foot

German
South African

Werder Bremen Youth Team | FC Verden Youth Team | SC Weyhe Youth Team | JFV Nordwest Youth Team

TP Uphusen | Germany 🇩🇪

N/A

17 B.J. Banda

Jun 1st, ’98 | 19

AP, AF, CF
1, 76 m
Left Foot

Irish
South African

Letterkenny Rovers | Finn Harps Youth Team

Finn Harps | Ireland 🇮🇪

N/A

18 Tom Barkhuizen

Jul 4th, ’93 | 24

AP, AF, CF
1, 75 m
Right Foot

English
South African

Blackpool | Hereford United | Fleetwood Town | Morecambe

Preston North End | England 🇬🇧

N/A

19 Marcel Lück

Jan 18th, ’96 | 21

CF
1, 86 m
Either Foot

German
South African

SuperSport United Youth Team | Stuttgarter Kickers II

VfB Oldenburg | Germany 🇩🇪

N/A

 

Written By Mallele Chidi PeTje III (@MCPeTjeIII) 

Half-Time Orange For Thought; Juxtaposed Truths, Arsenal’s Invincibles vs The Unpredictable’s

Talent identification, and the development of that potential into ability, are some of the traits that have stood Arsène Wenger apart from most gaffers throughout his illustrious and lengthy career; opting to punt for potential over proven players is a very uncertain science, one that Le Prof has practiced with varied results over the years, most Arsenal fans will go on record to say that there is a Christopher Wreh or Philippe Senderos for every Robin van Persie or Kolo Toure he unearths. Click To Tweet

arsenal03-04

#TheBootRoom

Dissected with the attention to detail of a legendary Masterchef 2nd season casting outcast , your good mate Uncle Bob serves up his weekly Half-Time Orange For Thought; a mental morsel for the sports fanatic with a healthy appetite for wholesome consumables. We at GSV have reluctantly declared ourselves accountable for any digestion difficulties that may or may not occur. Enjoy!

Arsène Wenger is rightfully regarded by many as a football maverick, one of the few managers in the modern game to habitually go against the grain, in the hopes of improving his team and himself as a leader. Much has been writ about his more recent teams, decision making and a perceived lack of appetite to be as ambitious as he was when Arsenal were considered one of the best sides in the fraternity. Arsenal have recently shown glimpses of returning to being a formidable team that can compete for major honours, while also playing some of the best football you can find on any given matchday, anywhere where the beautiful game is played.

Talent identification, and the development of that potential into ability, are some of the traits that have stood Arsène Wenger apart from most gaffers throughout his illustrious and lengthy career; opting to punt for potential over proven players is a very uncertain science, one that Le Prof has practiced with varied results over the years, most Arsenal fans will go on record to say that there is a Christopher Wreh or Philippe Senderos for every Robin van Persie or Kolo Toure he unearths. The barometer for Arsenal sides will always be The Invincibles, a team that was a testament to how quality players could combine to form a top class side, which played the Beautiful Game the way it ought to be played. We will compare the current Arsenal side to the team all future Gooners’ sides should be endeavouring to better, juxtaposing players and roles, while assessing where the team has and still could improve, as they aspire to return to the top of the domestic and global game.

arsenal-invincibles-toon

The Invincibles (2003/04)    
Position

 

# Name 03/04 Arsenal Record GSV Grade # Name Overall Arsenal Record
GK 1 Jens Lehman 54 Games Upgrade 33 Petr Čech 47 Games
RB 12 Lauren 47 Games Potential Upgrade 24 Héctor Bellerín 67 Games, 3 Goals
RCB 23 Sol Campbell 50 Games, 1 Goal Comparable 20 Shkodran Mustafi 10 Games
LCB 28 Kolo Touré 55 Games, 3 Goals Comparable 6 Laurent Koscielny 192 Games, 17 Goals
LB 3 Ashley Cole 47 Games, 1 Goal Downgrade 18 Nacho Monreal 110 Games, 1 Goal
Ball-Winning Midfielder 19 Gilberto Silva 46 Games, 4 Goals Potentially Comparable 35 Mohamed Elneny 19 Games
Box-To-Box Midfielder 4 Patrick Vieira 44 Games, 3 Goals Potentially Comparable 29 Granit Xhaka 10 Games, 1 Goal
Right Midfielder 8 Fredrik “Freddie” Ljungberg 44 Games, 10 Goals Comparable 14 Theo Walcott 248 Games, 61 Goals
Left Midfielder 7 Robert Pirès 51 Games, 19 Goals Potentially Comparable 17 Alex Iwobi 22 Games, 2 Goals
Trequartista 10 Dennis Bergkamp 38 Games, 5 Goals Comparable 11 Mesut Özil 95 Games, 18 Goals
Centre Forward 14 Thierry Henry 51 Games, 39 Goals Potentially Comparable 7 Alexis Sánchez 78 Games, 37 Goals
Bench              
Goalkeeper 33 Graham Stack 5 Games Upgrade 13 David Ospina 22 Games
Right Defender 45 Justin Hoyte 3 Games Upgrade 2 Mathieu Debuchy 13 Games, 1 Goal
Central Defender 5 Martin Keown 15 Games Downgrade 4 Per Mertesacker 149 Games, 5 Goals
Central Defender 18 Pascal Cygan 24 Games Upgrade 5 Gabriel Paulista 28 Games, 1 Goal
Central Defender 27 Efstathios Tavlaridis 3 Games Potential Upgrade 16 Rob Holding 3 Games
Left Fullback 22 Gaël Clichy 22 Games Comparable 3 Kieran Gibbs 130 Games, 2 Goals
Ball-Winning Midfielder 17 Edu 48 Games, 7 Goals Potentially Comparable 34 Francis Coquelin 79 Games
Midfielder 15 Ray Parlour 38 Games Potentially Comparable 8 Aaron Ramsey 192 Games, 28 Goals
Central Midfielder 57 Cesc Fàbregas 3 Games, 1 Goal Comparable 19 Santi Cazorla 129 Games, 25 Goals
Right Midfielder 39 David Bentley 8 Games, 1 Goal Upgrade 15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 111 Games, 8 Goals
Auxiliary Midfielder 54 Quincy Owusu-Abeyie 3 Games Potential Upgrade 31 Jeff Reine-Adélaïde 4 Games
Left Midfielder 9 José Antonio Reyes 21 Games, 5 Goals Potentially Comparable 9 Lucas Pérez 3 Games
Forward 11 Sylvain Wiltord 20 Games, 4 Goals Comparable 23 Danny Welbeck 36  Games, 8 Goals
Forward 25 Nwankwo Kanu 24 Games, 3 Goals Comparable 12 Olivier Giroud 140 Games, 60 Goals
Forward 30 Jérémie Aliadière 15 Games, 4 Goals Potential Upgrade 32 Chuba Akpom 4 Games

 

Written By Mallele Chidi Petje III (@MCPeTjeIII)

The Olympians: South Africa’s u/23 (Amaglug-Glug) 2016 Rio Olympics Squad

SAFALogoRio-Olympics

#TheBootRoom

The talk of Vision 2022 has returned to the top of most Mzansi diski discussion once again, as national under 23 coach, Owen Da Gama, announced his 18 man plus stand-by list of players to represent South Africa in the 26th male edition of the football spectacle part of the Olympic Games, to be held in Rio. It seems to have been eons since we’ve had a national team announcement, at any level, that hasn’t failed to produce great unrest amongst most football following South Africans regarding the personnel selected. The trend seems to have progressed, as two Kaizer Chiefs players have been named as the 2 over-age players chosen in the rather inexperienced squad; one that could have used the luxury of another more seasoned campaigner further up field to ease the pressure of carrying the offensive unit, a unit comprising of a few talented youngsters that haven’t played much football at the elite level. I was fortunate enough to come across a list of the 19 candidates nominated on the overage shortlist by Owen Da Gama, a list exclusively sourced by The Times and circulated on Social Media, seeing players like Solomon Mathe, Surprise Moriri, Tlou Segolela, Asavela Mbekile and Ndumiso Mabena on the list, players who wouldn’t not have been much use within the current circumstances, was a slap in the face, as it seems as though our national teams are still being treated like a friends & clients of friends club. Players like Thabo Matlaba, Hlompho Kekana, Thabo Rakhale, Prince Nxumalo & Moeketsi Sekola, who were all also on the list, would have added a different quality to the squad, and given them a different outlook, particularly regarding how they setup their offensive game. Andile Jali and Lebogang Phiri are said to have had their call-ups rejected by their respective club sides, Jali was to serve as the 3rd overage player, while Phiri would have been a lock to start in one of the two double-pivot slots, in what cloud have been his international level breakthrough for South Africa.

Potential is a great commodity in modern sports, where we often value high potential ceiling prospects over good readymade talents, simply because, a young talent with the perceived scope for growth is seen as an asset that has the potential to yield greater rewards. The process behind negating the option of calling up a 3rd overage player for the tournament has been explained by a desire to afford another u/23 player with the opportunity to make the nation proud, and build upon that great platform to catapult their career to the next level. One cannot disagree with that notion, but with the squad already consisting of a few players that could be said to have been “afforded a platform to make the nation proud”, which is more like a gift to some who have largely been unseen & are unproven on the professional level, one cannot help but feel as if, yet again, we let our politics get in the way of us assembling the best possible side, which is a pity as this is such a pivotal tournament in the success of said Vision 2022.

The leaders tasked with guiding the beautiful game in our beloved South Africa have made little attempt to fully clarify what it is their Vision 2022 will achieve in the short, mid and long terms; yet whenever the topic is conveniently brought up for discussion, the nation just happens to be on the cusp of a youth international tournament that never appears to be fully logistically prepared for by those in charge. The appointment of Neil Tovey as Technical Director of SAFA was intended to have put an end to an era where clubs are at odds with the national team over player availability, for whatever reason, we often see players from the same local clubs get preferential treatment when it comes to national call-ups, and that is something that was intended to stop as we moved towards this Vision 2022, that promotes youth development and inclusion of players from across the board. The one truly commendable facet of the side is the diversity of where they selected players were developed or nurtured into professionals; of the 18 man squad, 8 were groomed in Gauteng, with a much improved 5 in Cape Town, 2 from the North-West and one each from, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

South Africa is a nation blessed with great sporting talent in abundance, for whatever reason, we have failed to continually translate our great gifts into elite level players, that elevate the standard of our national teams, and give our loving fan base something to truly be proud of. Aside from the 1996 African Cup of Nations triumph, South African football has barely made a mark on the field in the sport, and that is very disappointing when you consider the wealth of talent and resources we are fortunate enough to have at our disposal. The 18 men selected will do very well to fully represent the splendour and richness of South African football, in a country that embraces good attacking football much like we do, one can only pray that our current group of u/23’s can go further than the Class of 2000, and win enough points to secure passage out of a group that contains the host nation, in the 26th edition of football at the Olympic games. South Africa will be hoping to finish in the top 2 of Group A, and book a quarter-final battle with Colombia, Japan, Nigeria or Sweden, who will all be vying for the two available qualifying slots in group B.

South Africa Under-23 Olympic Squad (Rio 2016)

Goalkeepers

Name Club DoB Height Preferred Foot
Itumeleng Isaac Khune Kaizer Chiefs FC, RSA June 20th, 1987 (29) 1, 81m Right
Jody Jason February Ajax Cape Town FC, RSA May 12th, 1996 (20) 1, 82m Right

 

Defenders

Name Club Position/s DoB Height Preferred Foot
Kwandakwensizwa Ishmael Mngonyama Mamelodi Sundowns FC, RSA RB/CB/LB September 25th, 1993 (22) 1, 80m Right
Abbubaker Mobara Orlando Pirates FC, RSA RB/CB/DM February 18th, 1994 (22) 1, 79m Right
Repo Tercious Malepe Orlando Pirates FC, RSA CB February 18th, 1997 (19)   Right
Mulomowandau Erick Mathoho Kaizer Chiefs FC, RSA CB March 1st, 1990 (26) 1, 90m Right
Rivaldo Roberto Genino Coetzee Ajax Cape Town FC, RSA CB October 16th, 1996 (19) 1, 79m Right
Tebogo Moerane BidVest Wits FC, RSA LB April 7th, 1995 (21) 1, 65m Left

 

Midfielders

Name Club Position/s DoB Height Preferred Foot
Mothobi Mvala Highlands Park FC, RSA DM June 14th, 1994 (22) 1, 82m Right
Phumlani Nkosinathi Ntshangase BidVest Wits FC, RSA CB/DM/DLP December 24th, 1994 (21) 1, 65m Right
Gift Mohlatlego Motupa Orlando Pirates FC, RSA AM/AF/CF September 23rd, 1994 (21) 1, 80m Right
Deolin Quade Mekoa Maritzburg United FC, RSA DLP/AM/AP (L/R/C) August 10th, 1993 (22) 1, 60m Right
Menzi Alson Masuku Orlando Pirates FC, RSA AM/AP(L/R/C) April 15th, 1993 (23) 1, 72m Right
Keagan Larenzo Dolly Mamelodi Sundowns FC, RSA AM/AP(L/R/C) January 22nd, 1993 (23) 1, 70m Either
Aubrey Maphosa Modiba Cape Town City FC, RSA LB/AM/AP(L/R) July 22nd 1995 (20) 1, 60m Right

 

Forwards

Name Club DoB Height Preferred Foot
Tashreeq Morris Ajax Cape Town FC, RSA May 13th, 1994 (22) 1, 84m Right
Lebohang Mothiba Lille OSC, FRA January 28th, 1996 (20)   Right
Tyroane Joe Sandows Grêmio FBPA, BRA February 12th, 1995 (21) 1, 70m Right

 

Standby List

Name Club Position/s DoB Height Preferred Foot
Nkosingiphile Gumede Golden Arrows FC, RSA GK December 1st, 1993 (22) 1, 76m Right
Thapelo James Morena Bloemfontein Celtic FC, RSA RB/AP/AM/AF (R/L/C) August 6th, 1993 (22) 1, 70m Right
Andile Fikozolo SuperSport United FC, RSA AP/AM/AF (L/R/C) February 18th, 1997 (19) 1, 69m Right
Thabiso Simon Kutumela Orlando Pirates FC, RSA AP/AF/CF (L/R/C) July 3rd, 1993 (23)   Right

South Africa Under-23 Olympic Games Fixtures

Group Fixture 1

Brazil vs South Africa

Date: Thursday August 4th, 2016; 16H00 | 21H00 CAT

Venue: Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília; Brazil

 

Group Fixture 2

Denmark vs South Africa

Date: Sunday August 7th, 2016; 19H00 | Monday August 8th, 2016 02H00 (CAT)

Venue: Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília; Brazil

 

Group Fixture 3

South Africa vs Iraq

Date: Wednesday August 10th, 2016; 22H00 | Thursday August 11th, 2016 03H00 (CAT)

Venue: Arena Corinthians, São Paulo; Brazil

The Grandstand View

Owen Da Gama is a man caught in a very precarious situation; his team overcame the odds to qualify for the Olympic Games, without anything near the level of support one needs to regularly pull off such a majestic feat, the pressure will now be on him to ensure that the newfound expectations of a demanding public are met, starting with three respectable performances being the bare minimum. One cannot begin to understand how ODG is feeling, the pressure of overseeing a successful campaign will be new to him in this position, as there was little pressure and expectation on the side during the earlier rounds of qualifying; the pressure seemed to intensify as the dream became more and more of a reality, and now the dreamers have heaped expectations on the man affectionately known as Rubber Doll to deliver the stuff of legends.

The comparison of the Class of 2000 and the current crop of players would be unfair for many a reason, yet the latent fact is that this selection looks a tad bit weaker on paper, which is unfortunate, when one regards the progress we expect ourselves to have made as a nation and a fraternity after 16 years and 3 Olympic cycles worth of experience, planning and implementation. South African football cannot grow as it should, when we are still having to deal with favouritism of certain club’s and agent’s players, club vs country tug-of-war’s that are intentionally going unmediated, and a general lack of proactive thinking, planning, implementation & ingenious corrective measures when it comes to handling the logistical side of our national teams.

One can only wonder how long our talents will continue to mask the shambles that is our football fraternity. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games may be a wakeup call for South African football administrators in more ways than one. If we can achieve any ounce of measurable success with a team that if far from our best composition of u/23 players, the powers that be will be left knowing that we could have achieved even more with proper planning and implementation. Lord forbid we become the whipping boys of a group almost as open as our 2000 one, a group that comprised of Brazil, Japan & Slovakia, South African football would have to do a lot of much needed soul searching to find solutions to our deeper lying problems; our team should, at the very least, not be losing to teams like Denmark & Iraq at any level, and these tests will be a gauge of where we truly stand in terms of progressing towards any success regarding Vision 2022.

By @MCPetjeIII