South African football is known throughout the world as skillful. The country has a lot of skillful players and a lot are still on the pipeline while I am writing this article. There has been a lot of criticizing the skills that has been portrayed by our footballers and it seems the criticizing is affecting our players in a bad way.
Each and every country has its own football identity. Our identity includes skills and tricks. We can say anything about football, but the truth is that South African football includes those aspects. From the early days of players like Teenage Dladla, Jomo Sono, Lawrence Ngubane, Kaizer Motaung, Shakes Kungoane and a lot more other players, they played entertaining football with flair, skills and tricks. There is no way we may allow people from Europe to talk nonsense about our football. Why are they not saying anything about Brazilian football identity. The Brazilian style of play is only for Brazilians but I have never heard anyone criticizing their football style. They had a lot of skillful players who also used tricks in the field of play. A player like Ronaldinho is one of them and he has been allowed to showcase his talent all over the world, but when it comes to South African players, it becomes a problem to the world.
Our current crop of players are confused today because of all sorts of things that are being said about their style of play. Looking at the way the likes of Thabo Rakgale play, everyone in South African knows that he is playing our style of football, yet there are those people who are always criticizing. What surprise me a lot is that they are always looking down on other countries’ football identity, yet their football has gone from bad to worse. A few days ago they were even beaten by a country with only 330 000 residents, yet they claim to be the football powerhouse. The last time they won a major competition was in the 1950s.
We should be very proud we still have players with our football identity. Those kind of players are rare to find. We have the likes of Hendrik Eikstein, Thabo Rakgale, Thabo Qalinge, George Lebese, Masibusane Zongo, Khethowakhe Masuku, and a lot more. We should encourage them to use all their skills. Our football depends on them for survival. Whenever a team hires a foreign coach, the first thing they must be told about our football identity and the players’ freedom of expression in the teams.
We cannot afford to lose these players because of some kind of coaches who failed in their continents and now wants to destroy our football identity. If you go to Brazil now as a coach, they will tell you about their football identity first. They will not allow you to change their identity because you are their new coach. They will tell you to go back and do it where you come from if you try changing their football identity.
We as fans are very influential on how we appreciate our style of play. We should not agree with the total change of our football identity. We have to let the team bosses how we feel about the changing of coaches in our country. Eric Tinkle was just sacked at Orlando Pirates. The question now is ‘’Are we going to see more of Thabo Rakgale and Thabo Qalinge in the field of play?” If the answer is no, then why would I bother going to the stadium and watch Pirates play?