Bafana Bafana Goalkeeper Coach Andre Arendse says the South African senior national team has the potential to return to the glory days of 1996.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has recalled some of the legends who won the African Cup of Nations, including Aaron Mokoena and Shaun Bartlett, to inspire the new recruits, ahead of their back to back 2019 Afcon qualifiers against the Seychelles.
Bafana won the first match 6-0 and are preparing for the second leg on Tuesday at the Stade Linite on the Island.
Due to SAFA’s chopping and changing of coaches, lack of commitment towards the development of football in the country, an invasion of alien technical ‘solutions’, among many other issues, Bafana Bafana lost their way.
The team has had six wins, four draws and suffered five defeats in the last two years. The team’s performance has been very inconsistent to say the least and the association had to come up with answers.
A number of players who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, were added to the coaching team.
Arendse believes their experience will rub off on the current crop of players.
“So, the process is not overnight. It does take a bit of time and I am hoping that with the type of people like ourselves on board in terms of assisting that process, in knowing how to maneuver the players within that process, will help the team. The players make it easy for us because they are willing to learn; they are willing to understand what it takes to get there, and so, when it comes to crossing that white line and the players going into the field of play which now makes it up to them in terms of how they go about it, is dependent on how long that process takes.”
Saturday’s win against the Seychelles was seen as the step in the right direction. However, the islanders are the minnows in Group E and Bafana will have to prove their mettle when they take on Nigeria on 17 November.
“What preparations need to go into it, the strength of mind that you need when you go and play away from home for example, and so all of those factors are a big part. The skill and ability is all there. We have it in abundance in South African football and so, it’s for people like ourselves to take that talent and nurture it and work with it and just guide it. Besides from coaching the game in our various departments, it’s a matter of just guiding the players because we have some talented and amazing players.”
Bafana Bafana’s return match against Seychelles kicks off at 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon.