2 minute read
7 Oct 2017
5:45 am

Bafana really need to up their game

Even EFF leader Julius Malema has got involved, begging people on Twitter to go to the game.

Bafana Bafana during training at FNB Stadium (Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix)

FNB Stadium could be an eerie place today as Bafana Bafana host Burkina Faso in a 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier.

It is unclear exactly how many tickets have been sold, but what seems certain is that the so-called home of South African football is not going to be anywhere close to its 90 000-or-so capacity, with organisers slashing ticket prices this week, and even frantically giving tickets away in a bid to get as many people as possible to the ground.

Even EFF leader Julius Malema has got involved, begging people on Twitter to go to the game.

Many have clearly had enough of Bafana, with their uncanny ability to fall apart at the seams, good result almost always outnumbered by disappointments.

Stuart Baxter’s second spell in charge is a case in point. Bafana picked up a brilliant 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win in Nigeria in June, but followed that up with two insipid World Cup qualifying defeats to Cape Verde in September.

Fifa ordered a replay of Bafana’s only World Cup qualifying “win”, over Senegal last November, after Joseph Lamptey was banned for life for match manipulation at the game in Polokwane, and SA are firmly rooted to the bottom of Group D.

Somehow, Baxter’s side do still have a chance of making it to Russia next year, but they will need to beat Burkina Faso, and then take down Senegal in homeand-away matches in November, while also hoping for favours from others.

All this, in the current environment, seems unlikely, with Bafana also hit by injuries and suspensions, and with the ill-discipline after the home match against Cape Verde in Durban in September also fresh in the memory.

A new code-of-conduct has been laid down by the South African Football Association after the partying of certain players in Durban.

Bafana, however, can be as well-behaved as a group of Buddhist monks, it will make no difference if they cannot improve on the field.