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Moloto: Bafana have a lot of work to do

Billy Cooper

Former Bafana Bafana coach Trott Moloto has warned that there is still a lot of work to do for Bafana ahead of the Confederations Cup.

Former Bafana Bafana coach Trott Moloto has warned that there is still a lot of work to do before Bafana are ready to take on the best in the world at the Confederations Cup, which kicks off on June 14.

Moloto, who coached Bafana from October 1998 to 2000, finishing third in the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana, said playing meaningless friendlies against weak opposition was pointless.

Moloto said the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile in Polokwane last month was a wake-up call for Bafana and the technical team.

Explained the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach: “We are not going to win the Confederations Cup or succeed in the World Cup playing teams like Botswana.

“And I am not being disrespectful to Botswana. What we need is more games against teams like Chile to toughen us up and give the players experience of what lies ahead in the Confederations Cup and World Cup. Chile showed us we are not as good as we think; we are not yet close to the best teams in the world such as Spain, Brazil and Italy.”

Bafana head coach Joel Santana blamed just about everything but himself for the loss to Chile, instead of taking responsibility, sorting out the mistakes and moving forward. But when pressed on Santana, Moloto is too much of a gentleman to comment on another national coach.

But Moloto did say he was worried by the fact that Bafana appear to get carried away by beating second-string sides from Zambia, Ghana and Malawi.

Spain, who are ranked first in the world, are in Bafana’s Confederations Cup group along with Asian champions Iraq and Oceanic champions New Zealand.

Moloto said that after winning five matches in a row against mediocre opposition—apart from the 3-2 win over a combative Cameroon in Rustenburg last November—expectations were raised. But Chile brought Bafana back to earth with a bump.

Said Moloto: “There is no point in fooling ourselves about our hopes in the Confederations Cup unless we start playing against more top opposition. The match against Portugal in Switzerland at the end of the month will do us a power of good, but I am not so sure about the friendly against Norway (on March 27 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium).

“The Scandinavian countries are not exactly powerhouses in Europe. I believe we would be better off playing more top-class sides from South America and the European big guns.”

He added Spain are a far better and stronger team than the one that Bafana lost 3-2 to in the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea.

Moloto also said players should play on merit and not on reputation. “In the old days we had genuine stars such as Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Shoes Moshoeu, Phil Masinga, Neil Tovey, the late Sizwe Motaung to name a few. We need players who are prepared to go out and die for their country.”

Moloto stressed Bafana need to rediscover the passion: “The expectation from the fans is high and Bafana are expected to deliver.

“But we are overlooking the fact that Iraq and New Zealand are no pushovers. They are both continental champions. I hope we have done our homework on both those teams. Spain are going to be the favourites to win the group and we have to make sure we beat both Iraq and New Zealand to qualify for the semifinals.

“To this end we need to work harder and not expect that these teams [Iraq and New Zealand] will be easy meat. Both those countries who are unknown to us will be tough opponents and we need to be properly prepared and avoid the mistakes we made against Chile. If we learn from our mistakes, then we will be on the right track. But let’s not fool ourselves—the Confederations Cup is going to be a big test and we need to meet it and rise to the occasion.”

Moloto coached Bafana in 34 matches, winning 17, drawing nine and losing eight.—Sapa

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