Kick Off - - News - Mark Glee­son, Act­ing Ed­i­tor

It is all too easy to ac­cept po­si­tions of power and then ab­ro­gate the re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with it. This is all too of­ten the char­ac­ter­is­tic of lead­er­ship in South African foot­ball. Kirsten Ne­matan­dani, fac­ing a hefty fine and ban from foot­ball from FIFA, in­sists he is in­no­cent of the ac­cu­sa­tions of match-fix­ing prior to the 2010 World Cup. But that is not what he stands ac­cused of. He is be­ing pros­e­cuted be­cause he was at the head of a rot­ten or­gan­i­sa­tion and his min­ions felt em­bold­ened enough, un­der his watch, to make deals with du­bi­ous deal­ing ‘agents’ to or­gan­ise matches for Bafana Bafana that ul­ti­mately turned out to have been fixed. Ne­matan­dani might not have known of the fid­dle, but as leader he car­ries the can. South Africa, in­deed world foot­ball, was em­bar­rassed un­der his lead­er­ship. Sit­ting in an ivory tower and not be­ing on top of the work­ings of your own or­gan­i­sa­tion is neg­li­gent, foolhardy and dan­ger­ous, as the former SAFA pres­i­dent, is likely to soon find out when he is ban­ished to the soc­cer wilder­ness. Shakes Mashaba is an­other who shifts the blame. Bafana can­not score, but it is not his fault, he says, even though he is pick­ing the team. Rather, he be­lieves his side is suf­fer­ing from the same af­flic­tion that has be­fallen all other South African sides in front of goal. “What can I do in just a few days,” he all too fre­quently laments. Fix it, I say! Mashaba col­lects a good salary and sits in a po­si­tion of pres­tige. He is our na­tional coach, af­ter all. He should not be telling us that to score is im­pos­si­ble – he should be go­ing about find­ing a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of Bafana putting the ball in the net. To take the post is to ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with it … and all those in pow­er­ful po­si­tions in the do­mes­tic game would do well to re­mind them­selves of this ev­ery so of­ten.

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