By Menzi Magubane
If there’s anything that the South African Football Association (Safa) can learn from the Fifa World Cup in Qatar is that it has to upgrade its scouting department, writes Menzi Magubane.
There is a straightforward route to success for the South African national team, and it needs to look no further than to Qatar.
Bafana Bafana can easily improve if Safa deploys more scouts in search of European based players and other parts of the world who have South African roots.
I have been closely following African teams at the World Cup and I’ve realised that they were not there just to add numbers but it is all thanks to the players they’ve selected — especially those who were born in other countries but preferred to play for the country of their origin.
The likes of Inaki Williams (Ghanaian born in Spain), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroonian born in France), Hakim Ziyech (Moroccan born in the Netherlands) and Edouard Mendy (Senegalise born in France). These players and many others could have easily played for foreign countries (Williams’s brother Nico plays for Spain) but opted not to.
South Africa too has an abundance of such players out there but Safa needs to show interest and send scouts to ask them to wear Bafana colours.
It was disappointing to see Durban-born player Keanu Baccus wearing Australian colours in Qatar and doing well, too. His older brother Kearyn joined Kaizer Chiefs in 2019 from Melbourne City.
While at Chiefs, Kearyn admitted that he would love to play for Bafana and if he was granted his wish, who knows, maybe he would have convinced his 24-year-old brother to consider playing for his country.
But that ship has sailed, Bafana has lost out on Keanu who helped Australia through to the last 16.
Safa, however, still have the likes of Kgagelo Chauke and Bradley Cross (English born in SA) and many others who are still eligible to play for Bafana.
We had players like these before (Pierre Isaa, Hans Vonk and Dean Furman) and their experience helped Bafana.
Safa, pull up those socks and find those hidden gems.
Pictured above: Keanu Buccas
Image source: Yorkshire Live