Friday, March 25, 2011

EXTRA-TIME with Vusumuzi Mourinho Ndlovu - A TALE OF TWO CAPTAINS

Messrs Fabio Capello and Pitso Mosimane made bold decisions ahead of their crucial continental ties this weekend. I would like to applaud them and wish their game-plan prevails to silence all critics. Appointed captains John Terry and Steven Pienaar are head and shoulders above the rest.

Although Jingles won’t say it plainly, the writing is on the wall for the Axe, it is bold and clear. Aaron Mokoena’s international career is as good as over. I saw it coming. In saying he doesn’t polish the players’ boots Mosimane made it clear what kind of a coach he is.

As I vividly recall that moment when vuvuzelas stopped a bit, when the ball was floated over the Bafana defence, the troops advanced but Mokoena, the commander remained, the rest as they say is history. Who can ever forget Rafael Marquez’s equalizer against Mexico at the then Soccer City? In as much as I don’t want to think about what could have happened had Bafana won that game, I am not putting the blame on Mokoena alone because we win as a team and lose as a team.

Somewhere somehow in London, an appointed captain received a complimentary call from the man he had just replaced. You would be tempted to think that it was Mokoena calling Pienaar; it was rather Rio Ferdinand encouraging John Terry to lead the team to victory. Whilst Terry kept on climbing podiums to collect trophies last season, Mokoena might have been busy with Google maps, acquitting himself with the routes of Championship Stadiums.

Fabio Capello has put aside an incident in which he called a big mistake by John Terry at the recent World Cup when the Chelsea skipper told the media that players had planned to hold a meeting with the gaffer because several seemed unhappy with his tactics. Prior to the World Cup, Capello had stripped Terry the England captaincy amid allegations that he had an extra marital affair with the ex girlfriend of England teammate, Wayne Bridge. The latter went on to forfeit his World Cup spot in the England squad most probably protesting Terry’s inclusion.

By reappointing him, Capello has shown professionalism and trust in John Terry.

Terry is fully aware that his second bite at the cherry won’t be an easy and pleasant one for everybody when he said that he is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Peter Crouch and James Milner were amongst the players that showed approval in Terry’s reappointment. Spurs attacker Jermaine Defoe, the man who holds the record of England’s most appearance as a substitute wasn’t pleased by Capello’s decision. Defoe stated that his heart went to Rio, he sounded ready to bury the hatchet in saying that they now have to move away from it since Terry is now the captain. Defoe and Ferdinand spent several years together at West Ham United.

With over a century of caps, Mbazo is the country’s most capped player. Goodbye Teboho Aaron Mokoena, we will miss you but not as much as opposition strikers.

Steven Pienaar, may you transform you’re your club form to national level. John Terry, you have led Chelsea to best defensive records, most clean sheets and record number of points. You have been their chief cornerstone. When are you going to lift a trophy for England? You are the commander of the Three Lions, lead by example.