IN response to Khaya Tonjeni's letter, "Bafana loss a wake-up call to SA" (February 6), one should expect such comments as South African football lovers mourn our team's early exit from the Afcon tournament. While the call for development at grassroots level and a plan to promote women's soccer is justified, we should not lose sight of the fact that success at a national and international level will inspire more youngsters to emulate their heroes.
I think Safa's current policy of five foreign players in a team is a prudent one. It might be argued that the policy blocks the participation of local players, but the converse is true.
Foreign players contribute enormously to the national league and expose our local players to diverse styles, improving skills and enhancing the quality of soccer in the country. My mind goes back to the huge impact that foreign players had on professional football in the 1960s when PE City Football Club boasted a full complement of imports – they inspired thousands of boys to turn their attention from rugby to soccer.
I think in the final analysis Bafana Bafana were unlucky not to reach the semifinal stage of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations. The coach and players should be saluted for their efforts and skilful passage of play.
A fit Benni McCarthy would have made a significant difference up front. We seem to lack the ability to penetrate the opposition's defence due to the lack of aerial domination and a target striker who could "hold the ball up" on attack might have changed our fortunes.
Football still remains the most beautiful game in the world.
Was Afcon a success? I think so.
Bruce Woolard, former National Soccer League East Cape convenor