Friday, January 31, 2014

CHANrity begins at home

One African Nation Cup (CHAN and not ANC) concept has been a revolutionary football ideal I hope will never die. The football and African politics are always a threat to the great good that the motherland always comes up with. It is a ‘kill them before they grow’ greed and hatred driven-debacle externally brewed and internal bred.
The idea, as known to all, is that African local league players are selected to represent their countries. This exposes the amateurs to the world. The same concept should have restricted the coaches in charge of these teams, to allow local mentors and in cases where the senior coaches are local, to allow only their local assistants to steer their local national teams to glory.
There can be an argument that the senior mentors have to be responsible to see potential graduates to the first teams and impose their style of play in the players involved in CHAN, but that is an excuse that football associations may have to stunt the growth of coaching education and practice. It can never be acceptable.
Stephen Keshi, the Big Boss, of Nigeria could have trusted Daniel Amokachi with the Super Eagles. South African Gordon Igesund could have taken a back seat and as it is, his effectiveness as a trusted Bafana coach took a knock with the failure to reach the final, increasing the ‘audibility’ of those baying for his blood. The issue is never to trivialize the tournament, but give it as much credibility as possible with development of both players and coaches in mind. It should be a complete package.
Congratulations to Libya for booking their final spot against Ghana after they dispatched a timid and na├»ve Warriors of Zimbabwe, and I hope they can win. I agree they play ‘anti-football’ but for their history and levelling of the playing ground, there is need for the absence of Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Morocco or Egypt at the top of African football. It could have been a dream case to have Zimbabwe and Libya playing the final, with Zimbabwe winning it.
It must be said that Zimbabwe themselves gave a good account of themselves but paid the penalty by losing on penalties in a match they should have killed in full-time. They wasted further opportunities to do exactly that in extra time and squandered a few vital spot kicks at the end. The southern Africans enjoyed success in the past in the SADC region, winning the COSAFA Cup several times and, transferring that form in this tournament would have shifted the balance of African footballing power southwards, albeit for a moment.
African football has seen the dominance by the Arabic north and then the west. The central zone, represented by DR Congo and Zambia, faired reasonably well compared to the south and eastern regions. As I have always said about the concept of CHAN before it began, I hope one day, a South African man or company will rescue the national league, the ABSA Premiership, and southern Africa as a whole, by sponsoring the club Southern African champions’ league to challenge Zamalek, Al Ahly, Esperance, Asec Abijan, Assante Kotoko and the rest of the club heavy weights.
Charity begins at home.