On Wednesday 7th March I made my way down to the City Press offices to meet one of the most knowledgeable men in South African sports media. City Press is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and one of their stars has been sports editor S’bu and it was an awesome opportunity that was afforded to me to meet the Legend.
S’bu is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable sports writers on the African continent as well as an authority of football in the developing world. He has won a bagful of awards during his distinguished journalism career that spans an incredible 25 years. He is widely regarded as one of the men that coined what would become the name of the national soccer team: “Bafana Bafana”. Something that he proudly showed me has been recorded as an interesting fact in the world famous chappie wrappers!
He has travelled extensively in his career and has covered several World Cups including 1994 in the US, 1998 in France and Germany in 2006. And as All Things Jabu is a massive fan of football, there was no better knowledge base for us to tap into than that of Mr Mseleku.
On SAFA and South African football going backwards. . .
South African football is a state of decline and it’s a very sad thing. The reason is in line with something I have always said. When a fisherman catches a fish, he cuts off the head. The reason is because the head rots first and affects the rest of the body. The same can be said for the administration of SAFA and over the years it has filtered through the body. There are too many personalities who do not care for the development of the game, but rather for their own agenda’s.
On Pitso Mosimane. . .
We should keep Pitso as the coach if the goal of SAFA is for Bafana to not qualify for 2014. He was the wrong choice in 2010 and is still not the right man. My choice for Bafana would definitely be an external coach with great experience. If we could have got him before he moved to Eto’s mega rich Russian club, then Gus Hiddink would have been my pick. Local is unfortunately not the right choice for Bafana at this point in time.
On South African goalkeepers . . .
Ithumeleng Khune is still the best in terms of talent, definitely ahead of Wayne Sandilands and Moeneeb Josephs. Khune needs more discipline which is something that could be said for many Kaizer Chiefs and other big clubs players. Kaizer Motaung has become too laid back in his approach and should make sure that the values he stood for at Kaizer Chiefs aren’t thrown away.
On PSL being 15th Richest League. . .
Much like life, being rich does not equal quality. The PSL is still on a high with the marketing that was available due to the FIFA World Cup 2010 and have been able to cash in on the sponsorships. We also have to major banks in Nedbank and ABSA as sponsors, with Standard Bank pumping money in the direction of the Soweto Giants. The question will be if these banks can sustain this involvement in the long run and whether they will be willing to. We may be the 15th richest league, but I don’t think we are the 15th best.
On the influx of aged players in the PSL . . .
This goes hand in hand with my previous statements. The guys like Benni and Boa Morte are coming here because there is big money on offer to them here. We have to be careful to not go the way of the J League in Japan or the MLS in America and become a retirement league. For me the only reason a guy like Thierry Henry has not moved back to Arsenal full time is because of the massive amount of money he is getting in the MLS.
On South African players failing to make the grade overseas . . .
I think there are two main factors that contribute to the continued inability of South African players to make the grade in the European leagues. The first is the weather. Us South African’s are not used to playing football in such cold weather, it gets really depressing too! The second and most important reason is that our player’s attitudes stink. In South Africa a footballer thinks he has made it if he gets a professional contract. I remember I was once doing a piece on the Soweto derby and was doing an interview with a young player. When I phoned him he said I must call later, he is window shopping now.
On big money owners. . .
I hate it. I have never been a fan of buying a trophy, rather earning it. The problem with these owners is they get ants in their pants and interfere far too much. If we look at Chelsea and Sundown’s we see just how bad this gets. I know Financial Fair Play was meant to come in, but I just can’t see it being implemented. I ultimately think these mega rich clubs are bad for football.
On which leagues he enjoys the most. . .
Based solely on what I watch the leagues I think are the most exciting, in order, are the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A.
On sport attendances . . .
Attendances are something that really are heavily affecting our sport. I think the reason for this is a bit of a catch 22. Supersport has put great money into South African sport, from football to rugby to cricket to everything. The problem lies in that with Supersport, we have created a paradise for couch potatoes. We see more live English Premier League games here than they get in England. This coupled with a lack of disposable income means people are not going to the games, but rather watching at home. In England, if you are in London, they don’t show you the London team’s game, you have to go to the stadium! I also think we just have too much sport
On his different sporting loves. . .
Although I am a lover of all sport, my passion lies in football and tennis. Although I also like to watch swimming and golf a bit, I’m more of a casual sport watcher. I really don’t enjoy test cricket.
On Kevin Anderson’s comments. . .
Kevin Anderson is young. I think much like other young sports stars in South Africa, he needs some guidance and some discipline. I think we can forgive him and just enjoy his victory at Delray!
SASCOC recently stated that they are aiming for 12 medals at the Olympics, but following our 1 in 2008 I would be very happy if we got 6. I think our most likely winners will be Khotso Mokoena (Long Jump), Mbuleni Mualaudzi (800m), Caster Semenya (800m), LJ van Zyl (400m Hurdles), 4 x 400m men, Chad le Clos and I really think that we could get a surprise medal with the brilliant SA Women’s Hockey side.
On his standout memory. . .
My most memorable moment as a sporting scribe will definitely have to be being in the Rosebowl in 1994. I had grown up being a massive supporter of the Brazilian football team and I loved the way they played. To be there and see them lift the trophy (even after a poor final) was a very special moment for me.
On his sporting dream . . .
The greatest dream I have in sport is something to do with Tennis. I would like to attend every tennis grand slam. I would love to be there for the championship week and to be at Centre court to watch the final on the Sunday