This week’s soc­cer buzz

Sunday Times - - Sport Soccer -

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.

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