THE NEW SEASON NEARS
We set Monday 25 June 2012 as the date when our players would report for duty after a long break. With changes already effected in the squad, we are quite pleased to officially welcome all our newest members and look forward to an interesting season.
We have made significant effort in acquiring players albeit under challenging circumstances. Whilst some negotiations are yet to be finalized, others are still pending.
We shall however disclose our full squad when all is finalized.
May I reiterate that the process has challenges and only a matter of time will determine the much anticipated outcomes. We have already done enough to bid farewell to our former players and hope they settle well in their new teams.
Whilst we would have loved to assess our team via the Vodacom Challenge, it was unfortunate that we have had to cancel the tournament because of numerous factors.
Returning to a proposed four team format had suggested the inclusion of TP Mazembe and one European team but it turned out that the former was committed to a continental tournament whilst the latter could not assemble a strong team since some of their members were featuring for the European 2012 tournament.
Besides, the organizers had limited time to finalize logistics to accommodate marketing, travel, venues etc.
Whilst it is obviously a disappointment to miss out on such an interesting event, we are however committed to finding alternative encounters that will assist our preparations for the incumbent season.
The Carling Cup therefore occupies the top spot with ticket sales already attracting interest. We are hoping that it will provide the excitement of the derby as a yardstick that reflects the nature of competition between the two clubs in the new season.
I believe we have a lot of work in our hands to redeem our inability to capture or defend our silverware in the previous season.
I am looking forward to welcoming our players and supporters back and hope we work collectively to achieve our set goals.
Our plans during the off-season would soon be consolidated to provide a comprehensive programme around the league and various cup competitions. We are still awaiting the finalization of the 2012/13 Premier League fixtures.
Although our win against Gabon in the friendly match seemed insignificant after two disappointing draws in the qualifier for the FIFA World Cup, one can at least hope that it encouraged our lads to look forward to the next encounters. It would have also helped the technical team to figure out their future plans despite imminent changes that are still a burning topic of discussion in the SAFA Headquarters.
Whatever the outcome in the appointment of the Head Coach, may I urge all South Africans to respect the decision by supporting the preferred candidate and similarly the players that will be selected moving forward.
So far, Euro 2012 has taken centre stage in providing us exciting entertainment with big nations jostling for space in the finals of this lucrative tournament. We have also been subjected to quality football as evidenced by meager score margins and other unexpected countries pulling surprises when least expected.
The group stages are over and everyone is looking with keen interest at the knockout quarterfinals which boasts World Champions like Spain, Germany and England just to mention a few. Portugal has forged through into the semifinals after dismissing Czech Republic after a hard-fought battle.
LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES
The date for the start of the Olympic Games in London is fast approaching. I just hope that Team South Africa is on course to prepare for this world spectacle.
Let us also join hands in assisting their preparation by showing our patriotism in supporting Minister Fikile Mbalula’s call for Magnificent Friday. Just like we did during the build-up towards the FIFA 2010 World Cup, may we don our SA colours and engage in different activities that will spur our athletes to wrestle the often illusive gold medals in different disciplines.
I am happy that football will be represented by a fired up Banyana Banyana team that has demonstrated their determination following their win against the tough Zambia in the recent African Women’s Championship qualifier.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)