”Football can be cruel”. We have heard that expression many times, but I am not talking about our 3-2 cup defeat on friday, after our reserve keeper threw in a couple in the first ten minutes and we then bombarded them to get back to 2-2 only to get done on a counter attack as we pressed for the winner. No that’s just lack of quality! No I mean our left back Jimmy Jambo. A Zimbabwean national player who was caught

Jimmy Jambo. Foto: Kaizer Chiefs

up in a bribe scandal together with twenty other players the head coach and staff, over allegations of thrown matches on a tour of Asia. The enquiry had been going on for months and on our way to the game the other night, the Zimbabwean FA released their list of  life time bans; Jimmy was one of two who were not on the list, which did include the Coach!! Of course he was delighted, but with ten minutes to play of the game and when storming forward he got the worst injury I have ever seen in my life. As he stretched for a ball he was tackled and dislocated his knee. Everything has gone! It looked like he had his leg on backwards! Probably his career is in danger, defineatly out all year and months of rehab in front of him. Now that IS cruel!

Two of our other SA National players
picked up injuries, surprise surprise , so we will go to Maritzburg with a depleted team given that we already have two other Bafana players out. Still , no point complaining the game eats you up if you don’t find solutions and have the strength to keep going. We will go there with a game plan and try to draw their sting as they play quite direct and physical. When we get hold of the ball we will need to hide it from to frustrate them or just go straight for the throat when they are piling forward and unbalanced. It will be a challenge but interesting. The boys will certainly be up for it come match day.

The game on Friday
was made even more difficult for our players as we were told on the morning of the game of the tragic death in a car crash the previous night of the assistant National coach Thomas Modigage. At only 41 years of age his death  sent shock waves through our camp as the Bafana boys were with him only 24 hrs earlier and many others had played for him .He was a thoroughly nice guy who was very popular due to his quiet style. Very sad for everyone.

On the Northern front
I am following the battle for ”Allsvenskt guld” with great interest and especially since I  have worked with  three of the coaches involved: Peter in Häcken, Rikard in Malmö and Andreas in AIK . They are all close colleagues and friends of mine so it will be interesting to see if one of them can produce an ace during the run in or will Mr Lennartsson be a fox and spoil their party. Great to follow between the peaks and valleys of life in Africa.

Until next time , enjoy your football, enjoy your beautiful country and go well.
Yours in Sport,
Stuart Baxter
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