1 minute read
31 Mar 2016
9:00 am

Lack of leadership affects SA sport

If the sporting successes of a country are a mirror of the national psyche, the Rainbow Nation is in trouble.

Fans during the 2017 AFCON Qualifier match between South Africa and Cameroon at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal on 29 March 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix

Bafana Bafana are, again, in danger of failing to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and the cream of our cricketers are back in South Africa, licking their wounds after being eliminated in the group stages at the ICC World T20 in India.

Tuesday’s goalless draw in the qualifier against Cameroon leaves Bafana five points adrift of automatic qualification, which falls to the winner of the group. But this was to be expected when SA’s soccer players managed only a single point from their matches against lowly Mauritania and Gambia.

Similarly, the Proteas were effectively out of contention for a global honour when they allowed England to chase down 230 against some haphazard bowling in Mumbai and then produced a batting collapse facing the West Indies at Nagpur.

These humiliations represent a double blow to a nation already reeling from an economy in disarray and unseemly infighting among the factions of the ruling party. Simplistic as it may sound, the problems facing two of our top sporting codes can be laid firmly in the same square of the complicated chess game of the human condition – a lack of decisive, insightful leadership.

While the universities burned and the streets of Johannesburg, this nation’s financial stronghold, all but disappeared under growing piles of uncollected garbage, the ANC concentrated on distancing itself from events and aiming potentially wounding shots at one another.

This lack of concerted drive and direction seems to have permeated to our sport, where expectations have far outweighed outcomes, an omen which hangs agonisingly heavily over every aspect of the South African existence.