Money does not guarantee success

JOHANNESBURG - People have often derided Mzansi that because of their advanced infrastructure, economy and huge population among others — they must dominate continental football the way they do in cricket and rugby.

But failures to qualify on constant basis for major continental and global showpieces by the senior men’s national team — Bafana Bafana — has left many critics confounded on what is handicapping Africa’s biggest economy from completely dominating the game of billions.

Bafana Bafana will not be taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon next year and before competing in Equatorial Guinea last year where they bombed out in the first round, the country with a staggering 55 million people had failed in the past two editions of Africa’s biggest football competition.

And with the 2018 World Cup qualifiers beginning this week, there is added pressure that Mzansi cannot afford to falter again. They need to be one of Africa’s five countries that must qualify for Russia.

There have been numerous reasons on why the country continues to struggle on the football front with others accusing the coach of being old fashioned, holding grudges against some good overseas players to archaic playing methods still being implemented by the technical staff.

Others have pointed fingers at the fact that the country’s Premier Soccer League, the richest league on the continent has had a negative effect on the national set up.

For example, while most African players would die to play in any league in Europe, some clubs in Mzansi like Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates can easily match some of the top clubs in Europe when it comes to paying huge salaries.

It is no surprise that some of the country’s top players have actually returned from Europe to play in the PSL when Africa’s talent is dying to get to Europe.

Tactically and technically, Europe offers the best for players and they tend to grow better when in Europe but with most of them returning to Mzansi, they leave the national team poorer and not in a position to compete with some of the heavyweights on the continent whose players play among the best teams in Europe.

Senegal for example has named a completely overseas-based squad whose players are mostly in England and France. This gives them an edge when they play Bafana Bafana.

Egypt is the only country on the continent that has defied this logic. The north Africans have won the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times and hardly have players who ply their trade overseas.

It is not the same with sub-Saharan Africa where players need to go overseas to technically and tactically develop.

Having said that there is also a school of thought that argues that being economically rich does not guarantee you success.

England’s last major success in football was way back in 1966 and to date have nothing to show for their organised league and financial riches.

This goes to show that money alone cannot assure one’s success. Mzansi’s riches does not mean that they will stream-roll all other African countries on the sporting front. It takes more than riches to forego natural talent.

America, China or India with all the riches they have and big populations they have could be the biggest powerhouses on the globe but none has a World Cup title among them.

Seems Mzansi must work hard just like any other country if they are to constantly do well on the football front. Money cannot buy success!

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