‘Professionals’ need to act like it

It has not been a salutary week for South African soccer.

The scars of this country’s embarrassing early exit from the African Nations Championship will remain a raw stigmata on the face of South African football for some time to come.

Equally, the acrid aftertaste of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s castigation of the national side will linger long after the echoes of his tirade have ebbed away.

It would be well for the minister to be reminded that it is futile to shoot the pianist; he’s playing as fast as he can.

But having offered Mbalula this injunction it is also germane to pose the question whether it is just too easy in the most lucrative league in Africa and whether the players it produces are too soft for the rough and tumble of international competition.

Certainly, the riches which flow into local league and cup competitions would likely make Croesus envious – and you only have to see the luxury cars parked at the training grounds to understand that a goodly proportion of this golden pile filters down to the players.

For their part, the pampered professionals have to drastically realign their thinking, for the very word “professional” implies both the skills and mental fortitude that is patently lacking.

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