The national team’s woes have thrown the state of South African football under severe scrutiny as the country reflects and ponders the future
Former Safa CEO Robin Petersen has described Bafana Bafana’s failure to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations as a “huge disappointment” and a development that frustrates some ambitious goals set out by the federation.
Safa formulated Vision 2022, planning to make Bafana one of the top-ranked teams in Africa as well as qualifying for next year’s Fifa World Cup, where they would have targeted qualification for the knock-out stage.
But following a 1-1 draw against Ghana, as well as a 2-0 defeat away in Sudan, Bafana missed out on a ticket to the Afcon finals to be staged in Cameroon next year in what was a big miss of one of their targets.
“What has happened with Bafana is a huge disappointment and a setback for everyone because it means the team will not have a tournament under its belt prior to the World Cup‚ if we qualify for Qatar‚” said Petersen as per Times Live.
“Qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar was the main goal of Vision 2022‚ and it was not only to qualify but to advance past the group stages I am not employed by Safa and this is my personal opinion‚ so I don’t know what the current focus is regarding the future.”
Petersen also questions the future of Bafana and South African football as a whole.
While junior national teams have been competing at continental and global tournaments as per Vision 2022, Petersen feels such progress is put to waste at Bafana Bafana.
“What I know is that our youth teams are doing well by qualifying for tournaments‚ which is a big part of the vision,” Petersen continued.
“The chronology was to have a strong Under-23 squad going to the Olympics in 2020 and the core of that squad was to be selected for Bafana at the Afcon in 2021. From there some of them [were to graduate] to the World Cup squad in 2022‚ but Covid-19 has derailed all of that in terms of timing.
“The Under-23 team [has not been] able to play consistently and we haven’t had the Olympics‚ which could have been a good platform for development. All those things need to be taken into consideration but plans need to be adapted‚ given the changing circumstances and environments.
“Maybe Safa are considering [a change] to the programme and the vision‚ but I don’t know because I have not been there in a long time. There are a lot of things that were done and a lot that was not done.
“Some of what was not done was due to financial constraints ‚ which is an ongoing problem because Safa does not have the resources.”
With current Bafana coach Molefi Ntzseki possibly facing the axe, that would mean a fresh project and a new start for the incoming coach ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in what would be a big threat to Vision 2022’s main goal.