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Mbalula: Bafana are useless

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has criticised Bafana Bafana after their CHAN elimination.

FILE: Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula says Bafana Bafana's group stage elimination from the 2014 Orange African Nations Championship (CHAN) represents a monumental crisis for the national soccer team.

Bafana were dumped out of the competition by Nigeria last night despite going into the tournament as favourites by virtue of boasting the strongest team in the competition, coupled with the home advantage.

Mbalula was extremely vocal in expressing his feelings about Bafana failing to make the knockout round of the competition, but said coach Gordon Igesund wasn't the only one at fault.

"It is easy to sit here and say that the coach is the problem, and that he should be dismissed immediately. What happened with the entire infrastructure? The mediocrity that was on display yesterday is something that must never be seen again."

Mbalula says Nigeria went into the match expecting a fight, but were left disappointed, along with the fans, by the ineptitude of Bafana's display.

"They (Nigeria) thought they were going to meet the lions who had come to fight for their country, in their own stadium that was filled to capacity. But when they arrived, they met a bunch of unbearable, useless individuals."

Mbalula says the lack of respect on display from the players was also an issue.

"What I saw was not a problem of coaching. I saw a bunch of losers, who have no respect for this country, or for anybody else."

Mbalula says a few factors contributed to Bafana Bafana's elimination.

"Teams refused to release players, and one of those teams lost 2-1 yesterday. If you are going to be simplistic by saying Gordon Igesund is the problem, then you are not resolving the problem."

Mbalula says he wants answers from SAFA.

"SAFA as an executive must sit and conduct a thorough analysis. Then they must come to us with a detailed plan with what they are going to do. Let's not jump at one problem."

Mbalula says maybe the tournament wasn't taken seriously.

"We played against teams who came here prepared. We say we have the best league on the continent, but did we field the best team? That is the first question that must be asked. Was that the best team that played?"