Conquering Africa

December 12, 2009 by  

Why are the South African clubs failing to conquer Africa?

image003~1The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released the draw for the 2010 edition of the biggest club tournament in the continent – the MTN CAF Champions League. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about- it’s the equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – with all the top clubs battling each other for that impressive title of being the best team in Africa. It’s going be a long and bumpy road for the club that will eventually lift the prestigious trophy and with it a cheque for US$1 million.

Three rounds of preliminary knockout matches (home and away) will see the teams reduced to eight of the best – those eight teams will then be split into two groups of 4 – and that’s when the real fun begins. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves here – let’s take a look at the course that the South African representatives, Supersport United and Orlando Pirates, have to negotiate before they can even start dreaming about the top 8.

ssuSupersport United

1st Round :

Mbabane Swallows (SWZ) v SuperSport Utd (RSA)

2nd Round :

Swallows or SuperSport v Mitsamiouli or Ferroviario

3rd Round :

Swallows/SuperSport/Mitsamiouli/Ferroviario vs Vital’O/Tiko/Heartland

Orlando Pirates

1st Round:

Gaborone Utd (BOT) v Orlando Pirates (RSA)

2nd Round:

Passe or Starlight v Gaborone or Pirates

3rd Round:

Simba/Lupopo/Dynamos vs Passe/Starlight/Gaborone/Pirates


As you can see – there are many if’s and maybe’s – and judging by the record that South African teams have in the Champions League – an exit in one of these preliminary rounds would probably not shock the SA population into depression. To say the South Africans’ record in this tournament is less than pretty would be like calling Tiger Woods a two-timer (Ok I just had to ) – in other words, an understatement of the year.

The trophy has only been within our borders ONCE since inception – brought in by a brave Orlando Pirates team in 1995. Sundowns raised hopes in 2001 but unfortunately they fell victim to the Red Devils of Egypt, Al Ahly, in the final hurdle – sigh.

It would be unfair to judge the South Africans teams based on achievements by clubs that have been involved in the competition since the 60′s – when we were excluded from Fifa/CAF due to political reasons – but producing ONE African Champion since readmission to Fifa/CAF in 1992 is still a dismal record for a country that claims to be a a football mad nation.

Why do we struggle?

Don’t shoot the messenger but we all know the reasons / excuses that are thrown around by RSA teams following their disappointing CAF campaigns – the validity of the excuses ,however, is subject to criticism.

The first reason, which I think is valid – is the timing of the tournament. The CAF CL is played between February and November – in line with the domestic competitions in Africa – except off course South Africa. Our league is aligned with European leagues – and each year we hope that our overplayed or undercooked players will match up to players who are in a superior physical condition. In the words of one Dr. Phil – how is that working out for us?

The rest of the excuses range between anything from “our players’ smaller statue” , to “challenging conditions faced while traveling” and all the way to “the decreasing ozone layer” – but like I said – some of them are just plain thumb-sucked excuses.

So, before we judge Bafana Bafana –the question is – why are the South African clubs failing to conquer Africa?

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5 Comments on "Conquering Africa"

  1. Moskey on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 1:02 pm 

    Mfwethu, ng’yakuzwa ngama excuses ethu nani nani. Kodwa lento you feyila iqala la k’thina. Its always been said nami im saying it again, PASSION! These guys have lost passion, from the management to the players. You must respect your work, believe in yourself etc. Here (SA) Club bosses are bribing the refs and they win games without fighting and when they face the other countries who play for glory and their fans, they fail… Lezintwana ngaphandle kwemali, zibulawa nabo refs nga decisions abo. Indaba iqala. Back in ’95 kwak’fiwa lapho!

  2. Minks on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 2:00 pm 

    I guess we have a very long road ahead. “excuses, excuses, excuses!!!!!”

    I think some of the players have totally missed the point>>>yep i do acknkowldge the fact that safa has messed up in many ways, but our “Players” have also miised the plot>> they do not realise how serious evrything is (careers which are very short), they take their careers very lightly, i may be generalising but there is just no Passion @ all. Watching our football can be very dissappointing, but at times we watch them because we are supporting and we Love the game. If you look at the other African teams, who are getting paid much much less than our boys (in africa), have much lesser facilities than we have, but the hunger and determination that they show is amazing. Somehow our players are pushing “other things”. I somehow feel as though some players actually think they are doing “us fans” a favour…or maybe we just have sisieees playing now!!!

    I dont mean to be negative, i try and do support South African football but a fan can only take up to so much…..Look at the Brilliant work that supersport united is doing, going for the title 3 times, because one can c how passionate they are. The “so called” big teams its all abt money, what they drive, where they stay, how many women, it goes on and on*** Maybe its time they realise that this is a career and if you dont perform you get out, just like it happens to us @ work!!!

  3. The SportLite on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 3:00 pm 

    Ok-unlike the players, you guys are really PASSIONATE…

    We hear this all the time from Bra Mike Mangena and his mates “the players are lacking passion” – “it’s not like in our days”…

    So how do we restore that ? Pay the players less? Cut their endorsement fees? Take them for counselling?

  4. Rego on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 3:41 pm 

    LOL! at the excuses “the decreasing ozone layer”
    But wasn’t the main reason why we have a dismall participation record owed to the fact that CAF and PSL fixtures usually clash? Unlike in Europe, the leagues aren’t synchronized with the continental league

  5. Brown Shuga on Mon, 14th Dec 2009 9:40 pm 

    Hey wena SportLite…please leave the endorsements out of this lol.

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