This week’s soccer buzz
Bafana Bafana striker Dino Ndlovu left the media gasping for air this week when he pronounced he was not only on a mission to earn a place in Stuart Baxter’s starting line-up, but was there to teach his striking partners, Percy Tau and Lebo Mothiba, a thing or two about banging in the goals. The last time we checked, Ndlovu was playing in the second division in China, a league that will be equivalent to our First Division — if not the Motsepe League. So as to how a tail was going to wag the top dogs, we were left wondering.
● Baxter cut a lonely but nervous figure all week as he prepared Bafana to face Seychelles yesterday. Eating
Baxsteen’s soul was the sight of the journalists, who irritated the hell out of him when they asked questions like why he felt it right to take some Bafana training sessions to an affluent but secluded private estate instead of one of the stadiums in Soweto, for instance. In his typically diplomatic way of answering, Baxter said: “We can go and train in the townships on a bad pitch‚ and then we can have lots of people who think we’re very clever. But then when we lose the game, they won’t be very kind to us at all.”
You never get how much you hurt our feelings, Baxter, you really don’t! ● Bafana’s training friendly with
Bafana’s B team, SuperSport United, didn’t go without its own drama. The game was first scheduled to be played at a township venue called Orlando Stadium. But when Baxter realised what he had earlier said about the state of the pitch in such stadiums, the game was quickly switched to a more "speedy and smoother" Megawatt Park in Sunninghill. The most stunning thing is that Bafana eventually played Seychelles in one of those township stadiums that boils Baxter’s blood.
● There was a huge scare at the Bafana camp on Wednesday morning when No 1 goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune tumbled awkwardly into the team’s hotel swimming pool. While getting ready for the team’s photo shoot, Khune was strolling near the pool when one Motjeka Madisha nudged him into the pool. The ever-alert Khune managed to swim himself out of danger, while Madisha was left with many questions to answer about his real intentions.
● Such is the decline in interest in watching a Bafana match in Jozi that the management of FNB Stadium were said to be happy to have drawn 20,000 fans in yesterday’s match after initially targeting 15,000. The situation couldn’t have been helped by Baxter’s own goal on township stadiums. Next time it will help to coach Baxter on these matters if anyone really cares about the bums occupying those orange seats.