Allow Rakgale to express himself

Allow Rakgale to express himself

I was taken aback by the bleating of Jeridi Rami after the Tunisians had lost 2-0 to Orlando Pirates in the CAF Cup at Orlando Stadium. I wondered if this was sour grapes or an attempt to cover his embarrassment at losing to a team they had initially underrated.

Mind you, it’s not the first time that we have been subjected to post match comments ranging from the ludicrous to the downright bizarre. The upper-lip, stiff-necked English in particular are major whiners whenever they lose to a more skillful side.

I suppose it comes from their claim that they invented football. When opponents add flair to the game – something they have genetically never been blessed with – they lift their noses in the air and claim you are not a gentleman.

They lament that you do not play according to the rules and consequently disrespecting them. Disrespecting them my foot!

If their rules suggest you must engage in haring down the line and then hoof the ball into the penalty area where a lumbering forward would “hopefully” challenge the ball like a battering ram, unfortunately that is not our style.

This is Africa and we do things differently. We cannot match them technically and so you cannot blame us when we use the only advantage we have to make them lose their temper and concentration when slipping the ball between their legs.

Former Tottenham Hotspurs gaffer Glenn Hoddle threatened never to play Orlando Pirates again claiming they disrespect him and his players by show-boating which enabled them to out-fox Spurs.

Manchester United defender Phil Neville also unashamedly passed remarks on television after Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky had flipped the ball over an opponent and Neville shockingly remarked that he would have gone into Rosicky with a two-footed lunging tackle!

I recall during the height of apartheid in 1977 after the Nationalists government had decreed that all white male were empowered by law to stop and search any black male they came across in the street and should ask them to produce their identity documents.

It was a degrading experience for most township folks to be stopped and frisked by boys still wet behind the ears. But the people endured the humiliation and knew the only place where they could extract revenge was on the pitch.

When Highlands Park met Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates, it was not a fight for the points at stake, but payback time. It developed into a psychological and political war. Players spent the entire week planning how to return the humiliation without getting arrested.

They perfected the art of feigning, pretending to go this direction and in the last minute, swerved and turned the other way. They derived a lot of pleasure and satisfaction to have proved their superiority over their oppressor and made him look inferior on the field.

That is why I am totally baffled by critics that should know better but are instead slamming Thabo Rakhale, Mark Mayambela, Masibusane Zongo and many others, trying to dissuade them from doing what they are good at and what spectators attend the stadium to watch.

Exactly what do these “critics” want? We have been complaining that spectators no longer attend local matches because the games are boring. But when the likes of Rakhale shake things up and elicit excitement from spectators, they are discouraged.

I think if the players are doing it to earn an advantage for their clubs, do not restrict them. Allow them the freedom to enjoy and express themselves while teaching them to do it within a reasonable safe space.



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