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Date: 24 November 2017

  South African - Soccer

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Bafana's Rufaro blackout-SA media smells a rat

[Posted 15 Nov 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Bafana"s Rufaro blackout-SA media smells a rat

Its suspicions galore in the South African media following news that Bafana Bafana failed to train at Rufaro Stadium, venue for tonight's friendly match between Bafana and tthe Warriors, due to a technical fault which resulted in lights going off during Bafana's training session.

Infact, when Bafana players arrived at the Stadium, the only thing they could afford to do was to warm-up as they geared for training. After that, lights which had reportedly switched off due to a technial fault, briefly returned, and only lasted for seconds before going off again.

Efforts by Stadium management failed to bring the power back. A disappointed Pitso Mosimane attempted to speak to the stadium technical team but the lights could not be fixed on time.

“It is unfortunate that we could not train ahead of our match. Our players last trained before the clash against Cote d’Ivoire in Port Elizabeth and also we have a new group that hasn’t played together in the national team.

"This has really hampered our preparations and we will have to sort everything out at the match, but we will soldier on,” said Mosimane.

Apparently, and concidentally, the lights returned to the stadium as the Bafana players made their way to the team bus after Pitso decided to call off the only training session the players could have had to get the feel of the Astro-turf at Rufaro Stadium, a surface South African players are not used to back home.

ZIFA have reportedly apologised to their SAFA counterparts for the unfortunate development.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has sent their apology and we accept it for this misfortune.

"But it is unacceptable as the lights should have been tested in good time. I am told it was a mechanical fault and we have to accept that even though they deprived Bafana Bafana of their only training session.

"What is also worrying is that we haven't played on this pitch before and this was our only chance to get the feel of it,"  Poobie Govindasamy, Bafana's Head of delegation said.

Now the local media in South Africa smells a rat. They do not accept that it is all a concident that lights would go off when Bafana players are tryiging to train, and things simply return to normal when it is time for the Warriors players to practice.

Football365 has been more hard-hitting than any newspaper in the country, and the soccer website has even gone as far as leading suspicions that Zimbabwe could have employed dirty tactics, something known to be common in African football.

"Bafana Bafana faced an all-too similar scenario as they attempted to prepare for their clash with Zimbabwe on Tuesday night that left them unable to train,"  Trevor Kramer wrote on the Football365.co.za website on Tuesday

"And the question is: Would the Warriors really resort to such gamesmanship ahead of a relatively meaningless friendly?

"A serious accusation you have to admit, but it is naive to believe that these sort of things don't happen. It's quite the contrary really - so much so that in some parts of the world they have become an accepted practice..."

While Football365's accusations appear to be suspicions which have been taken a bit too far, one cannot blame the soccer website for making an observation based on facts on the ground.

The Rufaro Stadium management might have acted negligently by not checking if the lights were working well on time. Add the fact that the lights were up running normally when the home team came to train (though this has not yet been verified), makes for a very fertile ground for suspicions to breed.

The development was very unfortunate, and it is inconceivable that ZIFA would ever want anything which can damage its working relationship with Safa.

Clearly, the question of a possibility of malice at play at Rufaro Stadium last night raised by Football365 appears far fetched given the status of this match.

It is a friendly match for heaven's sake! Bafana Bafana have travelled to Harare before for more serious ties and nothing of this sort has happened, when it could have been  the most opportune time for such 'dirty tactics to be employed and for a reasonable gain.

The question is, why would Rufaro Stadium management or Zifa for that matter attempt to sabotage an almost second string Bafana side, and for a friendly match that Zimbabwe invited South Africa to participate in?

Zimbabwe is known through out Africa to be a friendly nation for visiting teams. Even when stakes were high in the past during the African Cup of Nations or Fifa World Cup qualifiers, Zimbabwe has never resorted to any such psychological games and unfair play.

The question is: Why would this start now, and in a match that holds less significance compared to qualifiers for major cup international tournaments?

Well, the practice of ill-treating visiting teams and waging unnecessary psychological battles, which has unfortunately been allowed by the Confederation of African Football to fester in African football has made visiting teams' minds very susceptible to suspicions, even extremely ridiculous suspicions for that matter!

After all has been said and done, Bafana Bafana and the Warriors are two of the most well-behaved national teams on the continent as afar as fair-play is concerned.

This unfortunate incident on Monday night should take away anything from a match that is expected to be exciting. May the best team on the night win. Viva Bafana Bafana! Long Live Warriors!

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