Worrying signs for South African football lovers, despite seeing the nation put six past Seychelles

Worrying signs for South African football lovers, despite seeing the nation put six past Seychelles

Goals from Thulani Hlatshwayo, Lebo Mothiba, Percy Tau, Dino Ndlovu, Teboho Mokoena, as well as an own goal from Nigel Hoareau put smiles upon many faces this past weekend as South Africa ran riot against minnows, Seychelles, claiming a record-breaking 6-0 victory to move to the top of Group E with seven points.



That was, of course, a morale-boosting result which was desperately needed by Bafana Bafana to move one step closer in ensuring qualification into next year’s showpiece. But, despite the hard-hitting side that Bafana were on the weekend, perhaps some of our “kasi flava” and tradition South African philosophy was taken out of the game.

Instead, umpteen long balls were pumped into the box and as soon as the ball was played into wider areas, wingers and full-backs would look for the early cross, as apposed to the usual ‘vula-vala’, ‘show me your number’ way off playing the beautiful game.

As blunt and ridiculous as it may sound at this point, Stuart Baxter is slowly changing our footballing culture and instilling an English philosophy within our players, and personally, I do not think it is the way forward for South Africa.

We played “route-one” football so to be, which has never been our style in Mzansi. The manner in which our ‘Big Three’ in Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs play football is what should be implemented in our national team, moving the ball swiftly between the midfielders, being patient in the build-up and showcasing some piece of skill in wider areas.

It may have been a great team performance, but individually, our players did not express themselves.

Lebo Mothiba looks dangerous, but being used as a target man with long balls and crosses from both flanks has never been easy on the eye to any South African football lover. Even after the match, coach Baxter likened the Bafana Bafana frontman to Alan Shearer, which highlights how our football is reshaping.

Why not the next Benni McCarthy? Or perhaps Shaun Bartlett, who was called up to the national team? Our stars are being likened to English greats, instead of one of our own.
Let us not be blindsided by the record scoreline and identify the problems that stare us in the face. Our philosophy is slowly being diminished right in front of our eyes and we are not noticing it. Yes, we will never be satisfied with the national team, but things could change for the better.

To call upon the old football saying: goals change games – and it took a blunder from Indian Ocean islanders to spur us on to glory.

As ridiculous as it may sound, I would’ve taken a cut in our scoreline if it meant beautiful football. Give me a 3-0 win and some kasi flava any day. The game against Seychelles was the perfect time to make a statement with our explosive brand of play.

Last month, former Libya coach, Adel Amrouche, spoke about the “samba” football and also revealed how he wanted his charges to play the “South African style of play”. Now, we are not even implementing our very own way of playing the game. Instead, we have resorted to long balls, early crosses, and not much flair.

For now, though, all we can do is give our utmost support to the national team, but hope for slight change in the near future, because as a nation, we are almost there – especially in terms of booking our spot into next year’s African Cup of Nations.

Written By: Jesse Nagel