We are the rea­son Africa hates us with such pas­sion

CityPress - - Sport - Ti­mothy Molobi ti­mothy@city­press.co.za Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Tim­spir­itMolobi

Have we ever won­dered why the con­ti­nent has such scant re­spect for us?

Whether it is on the political or sport­ing front, the con­ti­nent has lit­tle re­gard for South Africa, de­spite it be­ing a ma­jor role player, eco­nom­i­cally or oth­er­wise.

Take the is­sue of Tokyo Sexwale that we are cur­rently cry­ing over. The man ex­pected the African vote in his bid to be­come Fifa pres­i­dent but he never had the cour­tesy to visit African coun­tries. In­stead, he was busy gal­li­vant­ing all over Europe, the US and the posh United Arab Emi­rates.

And now comes the Ajax Cape Town is­sue of them re­fus­ing to play in An­gola, cit­ing se­cu­rity mat­ters. What se­cu­rity is­sues in a coun­try where there is no civil war or strife? Maybe Ajax are see­ing the ghost of for­mer An­golan rebel leader Jonas Sav­imbi – a man who was killed in an at­tack by govern­ment troops more than a decade ago.

But jokes aside, th­ese are the very same stereo­types that per­pet­u­ate the ha­tred Africa has for us. Aided by spo­radic xeno­pho­bic at­tacks, we are dig­ging our own graves when it comes to alien­at­ing our­selves from Africa.

We can go and play in Europe but have con­tempt for our own con­ti­nent. We are part of this con­ti­nent, whether we like it or not.

It is a slap in the face for all the hard work Or­lando Pi­rates did by earn­ing the coun­try two spots each in the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (CAF) Cham­pi­ons League and the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup.

And then this. So much for all Pi­rates’ hard work in Africa.

Ajax with­draw­ing from the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup this week did not come as a com­plete sur­prise to me. Me­thinks Ajax’s with­drawal was long com­ing and they were just wait­ing for the op­por­tune mo­ment to an­nounce it.

My think­ing is that the de­ci­sion had more to do with Ajax’s pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion on the Absa Premier­ship log – fight­ing for sur­vival in the league – than it did with any­thing about An­gola. They are in 13th place and things are not look­ing too good for them. They know that tak­ing part in a con­ti­nen­tal tour­na­ment will tax their young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced squad and com­pro­mise their per­for­mance in the league.

So what did they do? They came up with the lame ex­cuse of not want­ing to travel to An­gola.

This is what Ajax said in their state­ment: “Ajax Cape Town has been at­tempt­ing for weeks to seek clar­ity from the An­golan Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion as re­gards the in­ter­nal travel ar­range­ments for the match against Sagrada Esper­ança in Dundo on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 13.”

But I hap­pened to see part of the cor­re­spon­dence of Jan­uary 29 from the An­golan foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion to South African au­thor­i­ties, which read: “Ev­ery day we hear new sto­ries from this team [Ajax]. Next thing we know, they will tell us that the re­gion does not ex­ist. The ar­range­ments to con­nect to Dundo de­pends on their ar­rival and never the other way around, which is never heard of.

“Sagrada Esper­ança is a team of the En­diama, one of the big­gest di­a­mond com­pa­nies in the world, which has part­ner­ships with South African and world com­pa­nies. They have pri­vate flights for their ser­vices.

“We should be talk­ing foot­ball here. In An­golan sports his­tory, we do not have records of teams play­ing in un­safe or non-ap­pro­pri­ate grounds.”

It is clear from this cor­re­spon­dence that Ajax have no leg to stand on.

Safa must refuse the move by Ajax to with­draw or make an ex­am­ple of them by pun­ish­ing them both fi­nan­cially and ban­ning them. We know that CAF will also come down hard with its own pun­ish­ments – but Safa must show a ruth­less hand.

Fi­nan­cial pun­ish­ment for this 11thhour with­drawal must work as a de­ter­rent to other would-be of­fend­ers.

Next time we should not feel ag­grieved if the con­ti­nent treats us dis­mis­sively. We are the main in­sti­ga­tors of what is com­ing our way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.