African Nations Cup

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Farayi Munyuki If Denis Liwewe had been giving a live commentary on a match between the Zambian eleven and Bafana Bafana on Monday night, heaven knows how he would have described Zambia’s victory. Perhaps he would havae belittled South Africa. Or better still, if Chitalu that football enigma who died in a plane crash had been advancing into the “danger zone”ÃÆ’Æ‘ÂÂÃÆ’ÂÀÃ…¬ÃÆ’… as he often used to say when someone wandered into the 18 area of the opposing team. Now as a retired soccer guru, he still watches matches and misses those heydays. We all do. When Zambia played Bafana Bafana last Monday, they missed many chances. They created many chances in the danger zone but there was no one to net the ball. Watching the African Nations Cup matches, it does appear that only novices were chosen to represent their countries. There was no firepower in the shots they delivered except for Cameroon who tried. Bafana Bafana were weak and looked disorganised. All southern African teams were booted out by northern and West African teams. Does it really mean southern African teams are weak and still play an inferior game to our brothers in the north and west? The demands by the South African players for more money on the eve of representing their country were rather childish and uncalled for. They had been selected to represent their country and that’s what should have been in their minds. But to hold the officials at ransom was not only childish but also stupid. Being picked to represent their country should have been an honour in itself. What would anyone want more than playing for his own country? By demanding additional money as they did, they brought disgrace to their own country and do not deserve to be selected again. They shamed the people of southern Africa. How do they hope to represent a country that they have so much disgraced? Football is not a factory where demands for new and better pay and less hours of work are always on the agenda of trade unions. In Cairo, it is war minus shooting. One plays for his country and not for money. When they lost what then should be done to them? They must not be shown any mercy. With so much money being poured into the development of soccer in South Africa, one hopes a future team is in the offing. A team that will represent not only South Africa, but the region as a whole. At the moment the region does not have a team at the world cup and will not be represented at the finals of the African Nations Cup. We are 200 million people in southern Africa and we have been let down by 11 so-called players from South Africa. Perhaps Denis Liwewe would have said: “They were eaten in the air, on the ground and badly booted out in the competition.” To improve soccer in the region, perhaps more competition is required among regional teams. The best players of west and northern Africa are in European teams where they are exposed to good soccer. That is the kind of medicine they need in order to improve. The time when Liwewe used to say: “They are all surrounded by one man”, is now gone.