No hunger to win: Bafana ‘want to stay at home, get good money, be popular’

Henry

Several football legends have been stunned by Bafana Bafana’s continued dismal performances at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Benni McCarthy says there is no will to win among the team.

“Unlike a few decades ago, when every South African footballer yearned for a transfer to Europe, the current group is content to stay at home, earn good salaries and be socially popular.

“They don’t have the hunger to join a European club, brave the cold weather and fight for a starting place,” says McCarthy, himself a former Bafana Bafana player.

“I coached two South African top clubs and often got the impression that mobile phones are considered a more important asset than a soccer ball.”

Stuart Baxter, former coach of Bafana Bafana and local football club Kaizer Chiefs, agrees.

“When I first came to South Africa (in 2005), footballers made the effort to go overseas. Not anymore. There is a lot of money now due to TV rights and sponsorships. Some players earn huge salaries.

“The attitude of many (players) seems to be ‘why bother going to Europe when I’m adored here, can drive an expensive car and have many admirers’?”

The 34th Africa Cup of Nations tournament is currently taking place in the Ivory Coast. South Africa, which won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 but failed to even qualify for the tournament in Cameroon two years ago, plays its first group game against Mali on Tuesday.

RNews earlier reported that the 1996 champions will this year face title holders Tunisia, as well as Mali and Namibia in the group stage in Korhogo, one of the country’s northernmost host cities.

Cameroonian football legend Samuel Eto’o says he is amazed at how Bafana have consistently underperformed at the Nations Cup.

“The South African league is well organized and one of the best in Africa, so I don’t understand why the national team is not as good,” said the Cameroonian football administrator and former player during a visit to South Africa.

“Football officials need to sit down and plan how to take Bafana to another level and make it the best national team in Africa.

“Given the strength of the national league, it is possible,” believes Eto’o, a two-time Nations Cup winner.

Eto’o is currently president of the Cameroon Football Federation, but played for numerous European clubs during his 22-year football career, including Barcelona, ​​Inter Milan, Chelsea and Everton.

Only two South African footballers – Lyle Foster from the British football club Burnley and Lebo Mothiba from the French football club RC Strasbourg – currently play for one of the top five European league clubs.

However, none of them will be running in the Ivory Coast.