Think out of the Boks



April 1, 2016
Think out of the Boks

Mense are not rushing to their TVs to watch South Africa play.

SA must drop conservative mentality to be champions

It’s not a good week to be a South African sports fan.

The Proteas were dumped out of the World T20 tournament in India in the first round – like minnows.

And winless Bafana Bafana now have a hope in hell of qualifying for Afcon after two draws against Cameroon.

Meanwhile, excitement is at an all-time low as the Springboks prepare to announce their new coach.

The gees just isn’t there.

Mense are not rushing to their TVs to watch South Africa play.

Nobody smaaks to watch a losing team. It’s not good for morale, it’s not good for the country.

Think back to 2010 – it was a completely different story.

The nation got behind Bafana as we hosted the World Cup.

The Bokke were world champs and had won the Tri-Nations; the Blitzbokke were Sevens kings; even the Bulls were Super Rugby winners.

And Graeme Smith’s Proteas were top of the world.

Fast forward six years and look where we’re at now.

So what went wrong?

There’s plenty of reasons for the rot in SA sports, but watching the Proteas getting hammered recently, it dawned on Munier what our biggest problem is.

Our sportsmen – regardless of race – are never short on talent, skill, athleticism or fitness.

We’re just too conservative in how we think, how we play.

Cricket bosses fielded the same team at the T20s in India that they would have selected for a Test match at Newlands, or an ODI at the Wanderers.

Other teams like Australia, England and New Zealand pick completely different batsmen and bowlers for each format.

We don’t. We only change up the captains.

We have our “best” and screw the rest. Never mind the format, the playing conditions and the opposition.

Then we wonder why our top players are “overplayed” and injury-prone.

Anyway, so the Pommies chased down a record 230 runs in T20s by obliterating our bowling attack.

Well, that’s what you get when you field a four-man pace attack on slow, turning Indian pitches.

And did we learn our lesson? Did we adapt to conditions, vary the speed, select more slow and medium-pace bowlers in later matches?

No. The term “horses for courses” does not fit in with our traditional mentality.

It was the same ou doos gedagte that cost us under ex-Bok Heyneke Meyer.

After all the talk of developing new talent and a dynamic way of playing rugby, it was back to skop en donner with old, injured players as the Boks came up short at the World Cup last year.

With this mentality, we’ll never be world champs again.

No doubt SA sports will spend the next few years trying to catch up to the pace-setters.

But this is not good enough.

To be world-beaters, we need to break from tradition and be innovators, not imitators.

Coaches need to think out of the Boks (pun intended) and players need to think on their feet.

Perhaps the solution to getting that fresh approach is to hire foreign coaches.

As for Bafana, jirre man.

Someone please open a goal-scoring school for them.

You can’t play a beautiful passing game, run rings round the opposition for 90 minutes and have nothing to show for it.

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