16 April 2019 – For some years now Vision 2022 has been on the lips of many South African football fans. A Vision which is set to see the rebuilding of SAFA structures as well as make South Africa a force to be reckoned with, not only on the continent, but internationally.
We have witnessed how we disappointingly failed to qualify for the previous World Cup which was hosted in Russia last year, but looking at the current crop of our under 23 players, who should without doubt make up the bulk of the Bafana Bafana team come 2022, we are definitely on the right track.
Coach David Notoaneʼs boys have proven to be a force to be reckoned with, a team with their eyes and boots set on the big prize, qualification for the CAF U23 African Cup of Nations as well as a consecutive qualification for the Olympic Games. Judging from their previous games against Angola, all seems well and on track. Their final hurdle are home and away matches against neighbouring Zimbabwe.
We canʼt also ignore the fact that our Senior Womenʼs National team Banyana Banyana took part in the last Edition of the Womenʼs AWCON which was held in Ghana, and went all the way to the finals were we narrowly lost to our rivals Nigeria, 4-3 on penalties.
This generation of Banyana Banyana have certainly written their names in the history books of womenʼs football as they became the first team in South African history to qualify for the FIFA Womenʼs World Cup. This is without doubt, a great achievement for not only Banyana Banyana or SAFA, but for the entire country as a whole.
We also witnessed how our national U20 Menʼs National team affectionately known as Amajita, qualified for the U20 African Cup Of Nations which was hosted in Niger this year. Thabo Senongʼs troops are just one example of how the current crop of South African National teams are proving to be well on track with regards to Vision 2022 as they themselves have qualified for their second consecutive FIFA World Cup which will be hosted in Poland from the 23 May- 15 June.
Our national under 17 ladies team also qualified for the FIFA World Cup in Uruguay having walloped Morocco to book a ticket at the world stage.
It goes without saying that this has to be one of the greatest era with regards to SAFA as an organization as well as South African football as a whole. Never in the history of the country has our national teams qualified for their respective major tournaments like this.
We need to give it to this SAFA Executive. Unfortunately, from South African football fans perspective, an organisation is only judged by the performance of the Senior Men’s National Team; which is unfair.
Which other country on the African continent has achieved what this SAFA organisation has achieved – I mean with various national teams qualifying for major tournaments like this?
Judging by qualifications of our national teams for major tournaments, Vision 2022 is definitely on track.
What SAFA needs to do now is impress upon the various national teams to convert their dominance on the continent, globally.
Teams should not just be satisfied by qualification for major events but to go there and do well.
Kudos to this SAFA Executive led by the indefatigable Danny Jordaan.
(By Modibe Modiba. Modiba is an independent academic and is a sport and social media expert)