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Mngomeni – How Are We Going To Beat Them With Their Own Way of Doing Things?

Bafana Bafana, Umtata Bushbucks and Orlando Pirates legend Thabo Mngomeni believes that South Africa has lost its ‘football identity’, and it was evident in the 5-0 drubbing Bafana Bafana received from France last month.

Mngomeni remembers vividly when he was part of the Bafana team that played against France in 2000, the scoreline on the day was 0-0. That Bafana team included Benni McCarthy, Shaun Bartlett, Bradley Carnell, Mark Fish, Sibusiso Zuma, Quinton Fortune and Delron Buckley, amongst others.

Speaking to iDiski Times journalist Rob Delport, he said that when that generation entered the pitch, there was no fear of the opposition, and he in fact went into the match believing that he was capable of outperforming any player on the pitch, no matter their profile.

“Definitely when you enter the pitch, it was like you were another person,” Mngomeni told iDiski Times.

The 52-year-old is concerned that too many South African teams are copying foreign coaching methods verbatim, and not using the knowledge to improve the South African identity. While acknowledging the advancement in football and coaching methods around the world, Mngomeni still feels that these methods should be adapted to fit the local player.

“And the thing is, we are learning the way that they are doing things,” he continued.

“How are we going to beat them with their own way of doing things?

“We have to do our own thing, do you understand? Since we’ve started learning a lot about them, wanting to play like them, that’s where the problem started.”

Mngomeni said that it was French star Kylian Mbappe who actually reminded him the most of the South African players from yesteryear, playing without fear and enjoying his football.

“Ja, definitely. No fear, doing what he wants to do,” Mngomeni continued.

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“As long as it’s positive, and he was enjoying the moment!”

Despite only making his debut at the late age of 29 and only playing international football for four years, Mngomeni won 38 caps for Bafana, scoring six times.

Do you agree with Thabo Mngomeni? Has South African football lost its own unique identity?

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.