OPINION: Bafana Bafana not an attractive option
Do fans not even want to see Bafana when it is free?
Bafana Bafana line-up during the International friendly match against Namibia at Orlando Stadium last Saturday. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
There are probably a myriad of reasons why supporters won’t go and watch Bafana Bafana, some of them socio-economic factors that certainly can’t be blamed on the senior national team or anyone else involved with them.
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Yet a starting point is always on the field of play, and Bafana gave a performance against Namibia on Saturday painfully devoid of attacking intent, ending in a goalless draw that Hugo Broos may have found “interesting” to borrow from his post match press conference, but about which few other observers will surely think the same.
Broos can argue that his side’s displays in the last year or so, as they have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, and beaten World Cup semifinalists Morocco, albeit in a dead-rubber of a final group game, should be enough to have more fans making the trip to Soweto for friendlies such as this one.
There have also been questions asked of Safa’s marketing department. There were, after, all, no other major football matches in South Africa over the weekend, and yet under 500 tickets were said to have been sold an hour or so before kick-off.
There were also reported to be about 6 000 complimentary tickets handed out for the game, yet there were definitely not even close to that many fans in the ground. Do fans not even want to see Bafana when it is free?
Yet it’s hard to really fault anyone for not coming when the match on show is as insipid as this one was. Bafana should surely have made more of an effort to entertain. And the buck here somewhat stops with Broos.
He picked Bathusi Aubaas, Grant Margeman and Sphephele Sitholo in midfield at Orlando Stadium, none of whom are really attacking midfielders.
And this was against a Namibia side that were clearly content to sit back and pounce on Bafana errors, as opposed to instigate any real attacking game-plan of their own.
Broos has shown a preference for playing a lone striker throughout his Bafana career, but surely this was a game, as a friendly, to try out the in-form Lyle Foster and Zakhele Lepasa together in attack? Or Foster and Lebo Mothiba together, but either way to leave out one of his trio of midfielders?
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Broos said after the game that Bafana had missed the natural ability to play behind the striker of a Themba Zwane, and indicated that he wanted Aubaas to play that role. But why not put a more attack-minded player in that position?
Bafana play DR Congo today, a more high-profile opponent than Namibia that may well take the game more to Bafana. Maybe it will attract a slightly bigger crowd, and maybe not. Either way, one hopes for a bit more from Bafana in terms of forward-thinking.