Thursday, June 3, 2010


By Namakando Nalikando Sinyama

Yet again we are faced with an event or opportunity to redeem ourselves as a continent and show the rest of the world how far we have come in terms of our advancement in footballing skills. The quadrennial event that is the football world cup is such an event. It is saddening to note that as a continent we have rarely ever taken the trouble of strategically analyzing and monitoring the progress or the total lack of it, by our respective teams in this global event. Granted, that each African representative at this show piece is a potential winner and thus any attempts at having these countries come up with a unified effort at bettering their overall performance, may be looked at with a mix of scorn and suspicions of collusion. The situation where the whole continent has failed to produce consistent finalists say up to quarter finals and beyond is to say the least unacceptable. Memories of one world cup competition where Romario was the only Brazilian striker receiving an aerial cross into the six yard box with eight towering and clamoring African defenders from an ‘indomitable’ side and despite this Amazonian being largely vertically disadvantaged , him ending up scoring several times with relative ease left me with a shock of my life. My spirits had hit rock bottom and I had started digging .The main characteristic feature of most African football teams is where once in a while they have actually been known to sneak in a few goals but the problem comes about because they have more often than not miserably failed to hang onto their lead long enough.

It must be noted though that over time, most African teams are no longer plagued with that all too embarrassing aspect of having teams boycott competitions on account monies owed to players or promised allowances undelivered. It is indeed heart- warming that even preparatory matches for major tournaments such as these have become better organized and given the serious attention they require.

What used to happen was disgraceful to say the least it reminds of that incident when some team of very hardworking ‘footballers’ just ended up getting a paltry 8% increment on the already small allowances after their team captains and representatives had some clandestine meeting heaven knows where, the results of which are as it were completely harsh-harsh as they are yet to be de-classified for public consumption!!!! The result of this if anyone remembers, was this particular ‘world’ çup was that that team was severely de-motivated; their energies sapped to dangerous levels and should not be surprising if a team loses matches or failed to reach higher heights in the competition? This is the exact result when priorities are muddled up.

My suggestion is this that, if these footballers sometimes decide to lose track of the importance and full meaning of what is at stake during the football world cup, we remind them. As Africa, we need to have motivational speakers to collectively meet these teams and marshal them so that they remember how many people’s aspirations they carry on the pitch. Once these teams get onto the pitch, for me it is no longer about individual countries from Africa and their progression but the whole continent and in this I believe am not alone. This is finally coming out in the revolutionary concept of Africa United. In South Africa we will all rally behind any African team that plays any other team. Perhaps this in my mind is the only event where you notice Africans truly coming together as one ‘Nation’ united towards a common goal and purpose and not as an economically, ethnically, religiously or politically divided continent. I think it is about time that we got our act together for the sole purpose of winning our self-esteem as a people who are equally endowed with the acumen to physically and mentally exert themselves. If the fact that this time around the contest will be held on the African soil does not inspire them enough then am afraid I do not know what will!

In most international track and field events, am proud to say that as Africans we are unrivalled in achievement but sadly as far as football goes we seem to always play second fiddle to our European and South American counterparts. The leaving out or failure to qualify by the Pharaohs who are African champions was one of the major blows ever dealt to us. They, by my reckoning, presented the best chance that Africa had of ever winning this competition. To this effect, I would also want to understand the reasoning behind having only 5 countries from a continent of 53 countries whereas Europe with relatively fewer countries has more nations represented at the world cup. Revolution me says(No mistake ,that is Jamaican patois for you)!!!!

I have also noticed, although this is largely debatable and thus subject to further verification, that to some extent, I would like to implore the technical bench of these African teams to seriously monitor the agility and physical and mental state of our players. I have always held that our players, especially defenders tend to be too muscular/or overly strong and which to some extent weighs them down when confronted by these mostly leaner and more flexible strikers as they tend to buckle more easily. Most African footballers and I know I will annoy some people here, rely more on physical strength and less on quick witted and sharp mental acumen on the pitch. I have noticed their reaction times are a bit slower and when they do finally react it is too late and probably in very unsafe areas which inevitably results in costly penalties. We should, if we do not already, emphasize the need to engage the services of psychologists in our teams because even when most or some of our players are professionals and are applying their trade outside the continent, when they come to Africa or meet their fellow African players in a competition they seem to lose focus and are shadows of themselves performance-wise.

Am quite aware of the possible reactions that this piece of writing will evoke but I will have to bear it all as am pretty much fed up with the uninspiring and dismal exploits at international football competitions every time we have these competitions.

Well, now that we are only 9 days before the actual kickoff there is not much left to say except quote an adage in our native Se Sotho language that denotes the inevitability and finality of the momentous nature of what is about to come upon the Mother Land . After all is said and done, all I can ever say is, South Africa 2010 World Cup....

‘Ki Na Ko’ which means, ‘It is Time’. It is indeed about Time we achieved greater things as a continent!!!!

Kozo Sicaba Sa Hesu,

Namakando Nalikando Sinyama
Barotse Patriot
Barotseland, Central Africa
“I tell you a truth, liberty is the best of all things, my son, never live under a slavish bond.” – Sir William Wallace’s Uncle

1 comment:

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