What can Bafana learn from the Springboks?


The latest AFCON 2022 Qualifiers in which Bafana Bafana played back to back games against São Tomé Principe, have left the South African public, especially football supporters displeased at the overall performance of the team.

To their credit, the Bafana technical team obtained the necessary 6 points, and in the process joined Ghana at the top of the group with 9 points.

But with all said and done, FARPost‘s Investigative Unit felt a patriotic obligation to help the struggling Bafana set-up by looking deeply at the possible lessons the team can amass from the Springboks. The current 2019 Rugby World Champions had similar misfortunes and tribulations leading to their emphatic success in Japan.

Here are the lessons Bafana can gather from the mighty Springboks:

1. Extended Technical Team

The support afforded to the former Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus by South African Rugby Union (SARU) was massive. SARU allowed Erasmus to select his technical and more importantly, ensured that specialist and extended technical support is maximized.

The technical and extended staff complement comprised of Attack Coach, Backline Coach, Conditioning Coach and Performance Analyst were all entrusted with the responsibility to lead their different technical directorates.

In contrast, Bafana have 2 Assistant Coaches (Arthur Zwane and Kwanele Kopo), Performance Analyst (Mark Davy) and Fitness/Conditioning (Kabelo Rangoaga) helping Molefi Ntseki. But, when will football enlist the services of specialist coaching like Midfield Coach, Defence Coach, Attacking Coach, Finishing Coach and Set-Play Coach?

Erasmus has Mzwandile Stick and Jacques Nienaber as his right-hand men, but also has all the specialist expert coaches focusing on strategic game areas.

2. Playing Style

The Springboks’ playing style was openly criticized by the local and international media. Their game model and approach was labelled ‘boring’, ‘old’ and ‘predictable’.

In breaking down the Springboks’ technical-tactical style, Assistant Coach Stick, emphasizes that the game model of the rugby pride of the nation is simply ‘physical’.

With the Bafana AFCON group totally on the knife edge due to a shock loss of Ghana to the Sudanese, a clear structured style will be required.

Bafana players look comfortable in the application of a possession-based style, short-passing, intricate movements and tactical freedom.

3. Pool of players

Erasmus’ plan was very comprehensive and well-thought out. Preparations for the Rugby Championship was spot on and decisive. Travelling arrangements afforded 2 teams within the same group to be selected.

The result was a more acclimatized team in Wellington, and a positive brutal draw against the All Blacks.

Coach Ntseki needs to create a pool of players and fuse the experienced players with the emerging talent like Sipho Mbule, Siphelele Mkhulise and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo.

4. ‘Chasing the Sun’

The documentary about the Springboks’ on and off the field called ‘Chasing the Sun’ is currently aired on pay channel SuperSport TV. From the programme, exciting information about the team’s tactical fabric, togetherness, planning and challenges is well documented.

However, of interest is how Erasmus articulate his plan and utilizes the squad members (reserves) to assist the other players, including match analysis, opposition analysis and referee behaviour observation.

Could Ntseki design a progressive plan to select his core AFCON squad and outline how part of the squad members will contribute to the broader tactical-analytical programme of Bafana?

5. Media bulletproof

During the 2019 World Cup, the Springbok bashing in the media was relentless. The ‘Bomb Squad Saga’ in which Makazole Mapimpi was denied access to embrace his teammates was labelled as racist.

In a team with mixed different cultures and background, instilling and maintaining squad harmony and close camaraderie is very difficult. However, the Springboks were united in their resolve, and moved quickly to dismiss the racist connotation and focused on the big prize.

Similarly, certain section of the media have implied that Ntseki and Bongani Zungu don’t meet eye to eye. For his part, the coach dismissed this and called up Zungu for the recent qualify.

In the end, the player repaid the coaches faith by scoring in the first match against São Tomé. It will be crucial for the coach to work closely with the media, equally so be alert and ready to wear a media bulletproof when expected.

RELATED STORY: Bafana coach Ntseki looking at positives

By FARPost’s Investigative Unit

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