South African Football Association President Dr Danny Jordaan has lauded the organisation for its recent successes in senior and junior international football, and spoken of the importance of COSAFA competitions in helping to develop young players for the global stage.
Bafana Bafana reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where they were unlucky losers to Nigeria after shocking hosts Egypt, while Banyana Banyana debuted at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last year as well.
“You can only have a Bafana team compete effectively on the continent when the mainstream flow of talent into the team is battle-hardened players from the CAF Champions League and players who come into the side having already won considerable caps at junior level,” Jordaan told The COSAFA Show.
“It means that your Under-17s and Under-20s must compete regularly at both the African championship and the World Cups, and the Under-23s must get to the Olympics.
“Since 2015, we’ve had Under-17s in the World Cup, the Under-20 team went to two consecutive World Cups in 2017 and 2019, and the Under-23 went to successive Olympic Games, qualifying for Rio and now for Tokyo. I think we have done very well.
“Banyana has won six COSAFA tournaments, lost only on penalties in the final of the African Women’s Nations cup to Nigeria and went to the last World Cup in France. We have 26 women professionals now playing at clubs overseas.
“Our Under-17 women’s team are just one game away from qualifying for the World Cup in India, having to play Morocco. The women’s Under-20 team are three matches away from Panama. And the women have also qualified for Tokyo.
“There we have, for both Bafana Bafana and Banyana, a pool of very experienced international players and I hope soon we’ll see a Bafana that can compete again. In 2019 in Egypt we reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations and we should our potential that night when we managed to beat an Egyptian team led by the ‘king’ Mo Salah in Cairo International Stadium.
“I was sitting in the VIP box and at the end of the match and all the army generals and ministers were all in a room, talking on top of their voices. Good thing for them that I cannot understand Arabic but I could clearly see there were problems there.
“By the time I got to the hotel, I saw on the news the decision by the government to remove the entire leadership of Egyptian football. It was a huge disappointment for them but a glorious moment for South Africa. It was very emotional and intense match but a great success.
“Good teams win now and then, but great teams win repeatedly and that is what we want.”