Veterans play in other national teams, so why not for Bafana, asks
Aquick look at the ongoing Copa America tournament in Chile proves that most of the competing nations have turned to their veteran players.
This is in stark contrast to how Bafana Bafana team selectors operate. They keep closing the door on more senior players.
Bafana’s misfiring in three official games – two Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) fixtures and the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Gambia – is proof that coach Shakes Mashaba should blend his young players with experienced campaigners.
Vision 2022 seems to be the cause of all the troubles, as it means players who fall in a certain age group, irrespective of how good they are, will not be considered for the senior national team.
Instead of mixing youth with experience, Mashaba has dropped the old guard, although the youngsters have sometimes found the going tough. Bafana failed to score in three games against Botswana and Malawi in the Cosafa Cup and against Gambia.
Although the signs have been there for a while, Mashaba and his technical team have ignored them, as he has persisted with his young team.
Teko Modise, who won the Absa Premiership midfielder of the year award, has been on top of his game in the past two seasons, but has been overlooked by national team selectors because the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder is on the wrong side of 30.
Bernard Parker might have been part of the Afcon team, but the Kaizer Chiefs striker’s role in Equatorial Guinea was limited to the bench and he only played a cameo role.
It is a different story elsewhere in the world.
Rafael Márquez captained Mexico at 36 and Walter Ayoví (36) also led Ecuador at the Copa America. Bolivia had Pablo Escobar (36) while the host country had David Pizarro (35) and Argentina had Manchester City defender Martín Demichelis (34).
Italy’s coach, Antonio Conte, persuaded Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo (37) to come out of retirement. Last week, Pirlo captained the Azzurri when they lost 1-0 to Portugal in an international friendly. He has vowed to represent his country at Euro 2016 in France.
Bafana’s failure to win a game at Afcon earlier this year in Equatorial Guinea – where they came back without a point – should have caused a change to the selection policy.
But Mashaba and his technical team did not see the warning signs. It is not too late to change the status quo.
ROCK SOLID Willard Katsande of
Kaizer Chiefs is expected to continue his strong play in midfield, although new coach Steve Komphela might be looking for a few fresh faces in that
NEW CHIEF Siyanda Xulu is likely to replace Tefu Mashamaite in
Shakes Mashaba seems to be focusing on the future
OVERLOOKED Teko Modise has been superb for Mamelodi Sundowns, but
is no longer considered for
Bafana LOOKING AHEAD
GRIZZLED WARRIOR Andrea Pirlo is still part of
Italy’s national team despite his
INSPIRATIONAL Rafael Márquez is still going strong for