Our Media Failing : The Schweintaiger/Yaya Toure Compare and Contrast

The case of Bastian Schweintaiger being recalled to the Manchester United first team is a victory for Germany and, to some extent, for their media in general. The Germans, from it’s media to players and legends never shied away from voicing their dissatisfaction with Mourinho’s treatment of Shweini. They used this time when the team is not doing well to push the issue as much as possible, with Manuel Neuer, Micheal Ballack and Lukas Podolski calling for his recall in the last few days.

Now compare this to the situation of Yaya Toure at Manchester City. Toure, like Shweinsteiger, is another aging midfielder whose legacy in the game makes him an influential figure in the team, over and above what he brings on the field.

While Schweinsteiger achieved his legacy at Bayern, Yaya gave his best years to City and his contribution to the history of the club is second to none. This makes it easier to plead for a better treatment of Yaya than it is for Shweini. We have the City fans in our side after all and that is power right there, all it needs is someone to tap right into into.

Over and above what he’s done for Man City, he’s also one Africa’s greatest ever exports and he carried our continent at a time when we had no one at the highest level. As the mighty powers of Samuel Etoo and Didier Drogba waned off with no one willing to take the buton, Yaya stepped up his game and carried us all by himself. For 5 years he proved the reference point for our African brothers at the highest level.
For that we owe him big time.

But our media and legends have failed him. We have failed to protect him against Guardiola at the one time he needed us.

Just like we failed to protect Caster Semenya against the western media and forced her to do it all by herself, we are doing the same with Yaya.

Comparing the Yaya/Bastian situations, we are failing an easier test when we have all the tools to pass. We missed our biggest chance to advocate for his return when City were losing games left and right. But we should not wait for the crises to plead for him to be treated with the respect and fairness that he deserves.

But I doubt we’ll see any change in our media anytime soon. Right now I have more questions than answers.

Questions like : when will our media stop just being relayers of information and start using our influence our benefit? When will our sports journalism stop being “he said/she said” reporters? How is the world supposed to take us seriously when we can’t even take care of our selves? Is our sports journalism ready to break out of the shadow of it’s political counterparts? And when will our sports journalists step up and question the status quo like our students and doing via #FeesMustFall and the political journalists have continually done throughout the years?

There are no guarantees that Pep would have listened to our cries but there was no guarantee that Mourinho would submit to the Germany pressure as well. Until we try and try as best as we can, we will never know and will never be taken seriously.

NB : a shorter version of this this first appeared on Soccerladuma.co.za

We Need To Talk About Kurt : The Continued Ignorance Of Lantjies

Kurt Lantjies is perhaps the most underrated player in the country. He has continually gone under the radar of the national team scouts and the conscious of fans, despite showing his brilliance for Maritzburg United for years.

This weekend KwaZulu Natal Derby against the high flying Golden Arrows was no different either.

He carried the 10-men team of choice on his shoulders- a task all to familiar to him- and effortlessly blitzed through the Arrows defensive third.
His role in the build up to his 73rd minute equaliser, in a nutshell, showcased what he brings to the table as an attacking midfielder : clean recycling of possession, effortless vision to spot runners on the outside and clever manipulation of space, with or without the ball.

The goal itself appeared simple on first glance but a deeper look into it and there comes another underrated side of Lantjies. The awareness and presence of mind to stay onside there is what every forward should striver for in the opposition box. Lantjies stuck on the should of the last man who was right across him and even drifted backwards as the defender pushed up to attempt an offside trap on him. The composure for the actual finish displayed his clinical side given a chance.

Imagine the difference he would make in the Soweto Derby with all that space and quality runners besides him.

This is not me using one incident in the game to over-emphasis the quality of a player. This is me using one in-game situation and a player’s reaction to it as a microcosm of the sort of player he is.

“The game is so great that you play 11-11 but there’s billions of situations possible (in a match). No situation is exactly the same as the one in the previous one. The players has always to make a decision, perceive the situation, make a decision and execute. No manager in the world can absolutely tell the players what will happen, the player must make a decision. That’s why you have great players and less-great players.” Arsene Wenger

He might be on the wrong side of the dreaded 30 years but he’s consistency on the pitch shows no signs of waning off.

I had a chat with one of my friends in Twitter the other day and when I pointed that Lantjies is one of the most underrated #10’s in the country, he pointed to the fact he’s “aging” to reason why no one gives him his due prompts.

In as much as we are all entitled to our opinion, I think it’s sad we still have people who judge players on age. It’s such mindset that saw Pirates let go of Daine Klate for Thabo Qalinge.

I think this is where Kaizer Chiefs’ transfer operators have to be applauded. Not necessarily for a transfer they made but one they didn’t. Keeping Sphiwe Tshabalala despite the emergence of George Lebese and the likes, is one positive from them. This wouldn’t even be a thing, so to speak, in ordinary circumstances there’s nothing ordinary about the times we live in. People are applauded for simply doing the obvious because the obvious is not the so common these days.

We still have Jacob Zuma as a president afterall.

Opinions aside, this is a player who scored 9 goals last season, 3 already this season. For a midfielder in a struggling side to keep chunking those number is astonishing.

In a recent interview to in celebration of his 20th season as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said there are so many situation in one game that every minute “a player has to make a decision, perceive a situation, make a decision and execute it… that’s why we have great players and less-great players.” I think Kurt Lantjies belongs in the former side of the fence. The society’s ignorance of his talent is nothing short of criminal.

NB : A short snipet of this article first appeared on Soccerladuma

Hugh Masekela : Time To Restore Our Heritage

Bra Hugh Masekela got the Legends Award at the 2016 MTV AFRICAN Music Awards and went on to deliver a legendary acceptance speech.

In just two minutes and 30 seconds, Bra Hugh encapsulated all that is good & bad in our past and present and gave us a few tips on how we should approach the future.

He began his passionate speech by lamenting the “borders we live in today” that was decided by Kaiser Williams II of Germany “for future colonial masters” and how we were “scattered all over the Americas as slaves” prior.

He then added these powerful lines that I’m afraid I will do a disservice to if I ever tried to paraphrase them.

“The people who support and buy our music are the poor of the African world. Their lives are one endless hall because the majority of our administrative leaders leaders treat them no better than the colonials did, if not worse. They are kept ignorant and needy of voices on their behalf.”

Masekela went on to challenge fellow artists to not just tell the good story but to go deeper and depict the reality our people are subjected to everyday.

“We have to include their (the fans) sufferings in our recordings because we can not keep asking only to romance and dance. It’s not enough anymore.”

Masekela concluded by encouraging all of us to go back to our roots and pass on our heritage to our children, otherwise kind is cease to exist, saying :

“The time has arrived for us to restore the best elements of our heritage back to our lives. To relearn and re-teach our own languages and history to our people and the rest of humanity. If we don’t; when they ask your children 20 years from now who they are – their response will probably be- “they say we use to be Afrocans very long ago.”

Never before have I seen a speech as powerful and inspirational in an awards ceremony. Everything about it was just perfect : the energy of the man, the occasion and the timing – at a time when we are advocating for decolonization of education and a proper recognition of Africans who contributed to the history and the world that we live in today.

This speech will go down in history as one of the highlights of the MTV African Music Awards and should his words of wisdom be implemented, by both our artists and the society at large, then it will go down as one of the change agents of our time that unified Africa.

SuperSport Takes Us Back To The Future

Did superSport just give us a glimpse of the future the broadcast media is heading towards or are we already living in the future?

That’s the question I asked myself when reading the news that SuperSport Football would have a live broadcast of the Varsity Cup final between Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg on Thursday.

Live streaming games is one of the 21st century phenomena but doing it on Facebook is a whole new ball game.

In a document titled THE FUTURE OF SPORTS, compiled by various editors and trend analysts in the United States for thefutureof.org, predicted that this scenario would happen in the near future.

“Google,Facebook, or other so-called over-the-top player will outbid all traditional broadcasters for rights to major a major global sport- and give the games away for free,” read the document.

The document than listed the challenges that broadcasters would face in the new media landscape. Two of the listed challenges were :

“Adopting a start-up mentality and becoming innovative leaders in online distribution of games and other sports media”

And

“Deciding whether to compete with or partner with new online venues and telecommunications providers.”

In one swift move SuperSport addressed these two challenges simultaneously and in spectacular fashion.

It’s interesting to see SuperSport being so proactive and decisive, especially considering the fact they have a monopoly over broadcasting rights in Africa as a private broadcaster.

Even more impressive was the response of the football fans a cross the continent via Facebook comments, with one comment reading :

“history is made. Exciting times.”

TUT went on to win the Varsity Cup men’s final. A great achievement for them but it was an even better achievement for SuperSport Football.

The future is here. Sports will never be the same again. Now we wait to see how long before this becomes a thing.

Voting Assistants Angry With IEC Over Unpaid Wages

People who worked as voting assistants during the local government elections and the subsequent counting process are expressing their disappointment with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) over unpaid wages.

They are saying they have not received their money from the IEC and those who have got some, it’s usually for one day only.

Ndumiso Magubane, who worked in Umlazi’s ward 78, says he’s yet to receive his money which should have come two weeks ago.

“I worked on the actual voting day (3 August). They said we would be paid three weeks from the August 3 but over a month later I’m still waiting, and I’m not the only one. They (the IEC) have not made any contact to update me whatsoever,” he explained.

Olona Fihla, who worked in Chartsworth’s ward 62, said he did get some money in August and was told the rest would be paid by 3 September.

“I worked for three days and got paid R266.00 on 27 August. I called, sent facebook inboxes and emails (to the IEC) and was told that money was for one day only, the rest would be paid by the third of September. It’s the 7th and there’s no money paid still,” he explained.

Malusi Msomi, the Training Officer of IEC in Durban, said they did not put any date on when the money would be paid. The reason people are still waiting for their money is because of the verification process.

“When you are using the public funds you have to verify everything, and auditors will come to see to it that we used the funds correctly. We verify person by person where we see some irregularities in the forms submitted,” he said.

Msomi then explained some of the challenges they are faced with, pointing out the number of forms they have to deal with as one example.

“Now we had about 23 000 workers in Durban alone, from more than 100 voting stations. One example the payments take this long to be processed is that we have attendence registers where the presiding officers did not sign to verify that people were indeed present on those dates.

“We have to give those registers back to the area managers to sign or if they are not sure that about the attendance, they go back to the presiding officers to sign,” he explained.

Msomi concluded by urging people to voice their grievances through the appropriate structures.

“People should used the same structures used to employ them to voice their complaints. The must report to their presiding officers or area managers, who would then report to the electoral project cordinators and then to training officer,” added Msomi.

If it’s beyond their control then the training officers will take the matter it to the national structures.

The verification process occurs throughout the week and then the weekends are for payments. This will continue until all people are paid

Mashamaite Joins SuperSport United

SuperSport United unveiled the signing of former Kaizer Chiefs captain Tefu Mashamaite from Swedish side BK Hacken on Tuesday evening.

Mashamaite signed a two year contract, with an option to add another year, the club announced on Tuesday.

Mashamaite is the fourth player who played under Stuart Baxter at Kaizer Chiefs two seasons ago to join him at United in this off season, after Keegan Ritchie, Morgan Gould and Reneilwe Letsholonyane, in addition to Kingston Nkhatha.

Baxter said the one benefit of working with former players is that they know what he expects from them.

He further admitted that they are changing their playing system to accommodate the new players in the team.

We’re playing a little bit differently because we want to get the best out of the new players we got,” said Baxter.

Mashamaite admitted that Baxter presence, along with the team’s history, played a role in his decision to join United.

“It was influenced by the relationship I have with the coach. It’s a new era. SuperSport have got the history of winning the league,” he said.

Mashamaite then summed up his experience in Sweden, saying he had a great time, as he won the Swedish cup, though it was short.

Supersport United CEO Stan Matthews said that Mashamaite has been Baxter’s target since his arrival in the Pretoria side.

“Stuart has had an ongoing relationship with Tefu. Originally when Stuart joined us, Tefu’s name was the first name he gave us,” admitted Matthews.

He than confirmed the fact that they did not get him for free though he did not disclose the amount they paid for him.

“We did pay something for Tefu Mashamaite but i won’t disclose the amount (we paid),” concluded Matthews.

Mashamaite is the second South African defender to return to the PSL in as many weeks, after Anele Ngcongca signed for Mamelodi Sundowns from Club Genk of Belgium last week. Mashamaite will wear jersey number two for Supersport.

 

Durban U19 Stars Set For Overseas Trials

NB : First Appeared on Journalismiziko

Nine youngsters who played in the 2016 Durban U19 international football tournament are set to attend trials in Portugal and Scotland this year, the KZN Academy announced on friday via their facebook account.

KZN Academy will have eight players attending trials overseas for the third successive year with Khanyisani Mayo, who won the tournament’s best player and top scorer, joining them.

The KZN Academy players going to Portugal are: Romario Morris (18), Simo Mbhele (17), Sanele Nene (18), Sibusiso Magaqa (18), Sphephelo Sithole (17), Dylan Stoffels (17) and Zola Jingxi (18).

Stoffels, Magaqa and Jingxi have already been registered by Amazulu for the 2016/17 season. The latter two were on first team duty on Sunday against Black Leapards in Usuthu’s first game of the season, with Jingxi playing more than 60 minutes while Magaqa remained an unsused substitute.

Amazulu team manager Japhet Zwane said they were not aware of the impending departure of the three youngsters.

“We don’t know about this thing with the KZN academy. I’m not going to talk about it. You can talk to them at their offices in Moses Mabhida (stadium),” said Zwane.

Also going to Portugal is KZN academy coach Sboniso Vilakazi, who will spend three weeks learning from the coaches at Sporting Lisbon.

Graeme Pratt, who said before the tournament he would like to play for Glasgow Rangers before scoring against them in the group phase, will have a chance to realise his dream as he’s the only one who will get to trial with them.

SAFA technical director, Neil Tovey, encouraged the youngsters to use this chance to surecase their skills in Europe.

I think this is an opportunity for them to get out of the comfort zone, to go overseas, to go to foreign shores and to ply their trade and show how good they are and that will benefit us all,” concluded Tovey.

All teams involved  (Durban Academy, SAFA Academy, Celtic and Sporting Lisbon) participated in the 2016 Durban U19 Football Academy where the nine youngsters were scouted.

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