So Bafana Bafana are out of the Afcon Cup to be played in Cameroon next January and February.
Losing 2-0 to Sudan in last week’s qualifier was the final nail in the coffin.
The team slunk home and very little has been heard from them.
I will spare their blushes an omit listing the minnows that will will be in Cameroon next year.
The football aficionados are wondering how this happened.
How does a country that should be a power in the continent’s most popular game fail consistently to even make the finals of its premier competition?
I gleaned an answer from a military attache sent to South Africa years ago.
He told me that when he was promoted to Brigadier General, he called his wife to convey the good news,
adding the warning that she would be seeing less of him. Making field rank meant a great deal more work.
He noted that in contrast on becoming Brigadiers his South African counterparts felt it was time to sit back and put their feet on their desks.
I get a depressingly similar sense from our star footballers.
They are required to play their guts out every week in the most competitive league on the continent.
When they reach their goal of being selected to play for the nation, they regard it as a reward rather than a call to arms.
This evidenced by the not infrequent disputes over pay.
National selection should mean one is ready, if need be, to die for the country on the field of battle.
Instead of trumpets, I hear the ka-ching of cash registers.
I don’t have an answer for how to get rid of this destructive sense of entitlement, because it has permeated throughout our society.
Our elected representatives say without shame that they did not join the struggle to stay poor. Service be damned.
Unless and until this sense of entitlement can be eradicated we should continue to expect as little from our national football team as we do from our politicians.