Player Perspective: Selecting Bafana Bafana

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Do Bafana Bafana have a destination or is it all about the endless journey to nowhere? Shuaib Walters shares his Player Perspective

PLAYER PERSPECTIVE:    SHUAIB WALTERS       Follow on Twitter


Where are we going with our national team? That’s the question I hear everyone asking about Bafana Bafana.

While it is always disappointing for me to be left out of the Bafana Bafana squad, I have learnt to accept it over the years.

I did feel it a little more this time around as there were two unfortunate injuries in the goalkeeping department, and yet there are two keepers from one team selected. As we all know, only one keeper can play at their club.

But my motto in life is ALWAYS LEAVE ROOM FOR DISAPPOINTMENT!

In saying that, I still find the rest of the squad selections for Chan and the Cosafa Cup baffling. I just don’t understand it.

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I am well aware that selecting a national squad outside of the Fifa-stipulated dates is always a complex mess for any Bafana coach, and I do feel for Stuart Baxter in this regard, but some of the selections raised more than just an eyebrow.

Simply put, there are players in that squad with more Bafana caps than club caps over the past year.

I am well aware that the squads selected for Chan and Cosafa Cup will not necessarily be the players selected in trying to gain qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

That is an experienced group of players, and I have all the confidence that they have the ability and talent to secure World Cup qualification.

But are we only thinking of Russia next year and not about Qatar in 2022?

Chan and the Cosafa Cup were the ideal tournaments to use as a development tool for our national team. Why could we not have utilised the core of the U-20 and U-23 teams with a sprinkling of experienced PSL players?

Instead, the Chan and Cosafa squads consisted of 26 and 27-year-olds that haven’t even played much PSL football.

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What kind of message is this sending to players who are performing consistently for their clubs in the PSL?

Without any hint of bias, there are numerous players at Cape Town City that were astounding last season in pushing us to third on the PSL table and helping us win the Telkom Knockout Cup.

We, in fact, beat SuperSport 2-1 in the final and finished two places above them on the PSL table.

Is it just a coincidence that 10 SuperSport players have been selected for Bafana since Baxter left the Tshwane side to take over the national job?

Goalkeeper Boalefa Pule is a case in point. Pule has been on the books of Platinum Stars, SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits over the last six years but only played 13-minutes in the Nedbank Cup final last year in that time.

He finally made his PSL debut last week after SuperSport loaned him to Amazulu for this season.

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I don’t think Pule is bad goalkeeper, but the point I am trying to make is how does someone play four times for your country without playing a single PSL game in six years?

I am just hoping that it’s not a case of Cape Town’s talent being overlooked once more in favour of clubs up North.

I mean, Thami Mkhize, has been consistent all season and deserves a call-up to the “proper” Bafana squad at right back and doesn’t even get a look in for these smaller tournaments.

There were players who were receiving call-ups whose names the media couldn’t even spell properly because they don’t even know them.

As you gather, all of this has frustrated me quite a bit. So, I am going to end on a lighter note.

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As it's still a women's month, it's fitting to pay tribute to the one woman that has made my success possible, my mother.

I don't think I can explain the magnitude of the sacrifice she endured to ensure that I had the opportunities to become a professional footballer.

So often we tend to forget the people behind scenes, supporting and encouraging us.

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Today, I am proud to say my mother is still my number one fan. To all the mothers out there who sacrificed for their kids to help them become professional athletes, I salute you!

Till next week … 

This column is brought to you by  Lotto Sports Apparel

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