Call me a skeptic. Call me a nay-sayer. Call me un-patriotic, in fact call me by whatever title that’s on top of your vocabulary and I will tell you I don’t care but I still firmly hold on to my opinion that our country (the hyped up rainbow nation) loves and applauds mediocrity. There I have said it.
I am an African and I am a patriotic South African. Before you talk about my being counter revolutionary I would like to tell you that I am part of the multitude of young people who would join in on a march and toyi-toyi my way to God knows where. I love my country but I hate the fact that we always think losing is the best we need to achieve. This seems to be the prevalent case when we are participating in sporting codes and other forms of competitive activities in the international arena. Case in point is the recent bombing out of the national soccer team during the soccer world cup. Bafana Bafana needed to progress at least to the second round of the tournament, this was also emphasized by the FIFA president Sepp Blatter in the run up to the world cup. The team went on to draw one game and lose one and on the third game they needed to win by a good margin in order to qualify for the next round. The chance to progress to the next round was there for the taking and the team just didn’t live up to that. Yes they won the game but still failed to qualify and the whole nation, even the president of the country, came out and said the team has done South Africa proud and how proud they are of the team. Speak for yourselves. Other people were even speaking of how in the next world cup the team will do better. That right there for me is applauding mediocrity at its best.
Let me remind you that we are hosting and as is there has been no host that failed to progress to the next level of the tournament in eighty years. In eighty years we become the first team that fails to progress to the next level and the whole country applauds that, hayi-bo that’s down right pathetic!
As for the team, they had an incentive of one million rands per goal on top of their normal call up and match fee from the football association. Had the team scored the required number of goals they would have at least walked away with five million rands, which would equate to about two hundred and seventeen thousand rands per player excluding the match and appearance fees. What other motivation could they need, another world cup in four years?
With that being said we cannot blame the current crop of players. The last squad to represent the country in a world cup also came within grasp of a spot in the second round and they were awarded with a call to parliament and breakfast with the president. Again the promise was to do better in the next world cup and yes this was that appearance and nothing came of it.
This is not only in soccer lest you say I am a sore loser as per Bafana’s failure. Athletics as well, we send a huge team to compete at the IAAF and only three athletes come back with medals and they will be met by a ‘hired crowd’ at the airport and politicians looking to score points. In fact the rot has also set even in parastatals where executives will run government owned parastatals to the ground and they will be awarded with positions in other parastatals and golden handshakes.
To quote a friend “we lack hunger to be the best” and yes you have it right there Mr. Mooketsi Sere. We just don’t want the best, we believe in what I call ‘settlements’. We just want to settle for a win against France rather than go all out and qualify for the second stage of the world cup. Like I said I love my country but I hate the fact that in the name of reconciliation, in the name of progress and all other educated terms we seem to adopt, we settle for less and uphold mediocrity. If it is coming out tops and forging ahead we shun, it is mediocrity we love and so much we do.