Johannesburg - This week was inundated with the question: “Are we going to Russia?” It was prompted by Bafana Bafana’s 1-all draw away to Burkina Faso. My standard answer is: “I wish I had a crystal ball.”
After watching the game, I was going to write about how our players lack BMT (big-match temperament).
I was going to address the fact that it does not seem as if we have the right quality of players to take us further as a country.
Any team that concedes an equaliser in the last minute of the match, having survived a penalty three minutes earlier, is just not worth its salt.
Also, the fact that goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was once more man of the match points to our team not being good enough, or even balanced.
However, Shakes Mashaba’s continuous behaviour as a bull in a china shop, attacking everything (or, in this instance, everyone) in sight, leads me to scribble about the coach, again.
The first to feel the national mentor’s wrath was Mamelodi Sundowns drillmaster Pitso Mosimane.
He dared to suggest that his players should be excused from the meaningless friendly match against Ghana that was to be played a mere three days after the Burkina Faso game.
This match was also taking place in Durban, thousands of kilometres from Ouagadougou.
Mashaba laid into poor Mosimane, saying he had an open-door policy and that the latter should not address issues through the media.
Mashaba simply entered the fray out of the left field, as this was an administrative matter that could easily have been handled by members of the administration at the SA Football Association (Safa).
He could easily have had the foresight to make provisions for players even before the Burkina Faso game.
How did Mashaba know about Mosimane’s utterances? In the past, he’s declared that he doesn’t “read newspapers”.
On landing back home from west Africa, Mashaba laid into his bosses, Safa, for not chartering a plane for the team to travel to Burkina Faso to be back in time for the friendly.
He pointed out that the association had done that for the Afcon 2015 qualifiers, and made it to the finals.
The question is: Did he ask Safa to make such an arrangement?
And finally, Mashaba went for his favourite target: the media.
On being asked about his job being on the line, a livid Mashaba retorted: “I’m happy that you’re saying that an impression was created, and it ends there. It was an impression.
“And with due respect to all of you, I’m not employed by the media. I’m employed by the SA Football Association. If they say enough is enough, who am I to stand in their way?”
Mashaba’s fights with the media are legendary. He once revealed: “I’ve got a grandchild. He’s four years old. He says: ‘I heard someone on the radio say you’re arrogant. What is arrogance?’
“Please; it’s a plea. If you write things about me, clarify them. Don’t just write passingly, because you give the wrong impression to people.”
Just to help Mashaba and his intelligent four-year-old grandson out, the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes arrogance as “an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter or more important than other people”.
Mashaba would do well to choose his battles carefully. It’s difficult to win multiple battles.
Some valuable advice from one of the most frequently quoted authors, C JoyBell C: “Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.”
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