Vera Pauw’s Second Coming!

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized
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The Brains Trust of Banyana Banyana

The Brains Trust of Banyana Banyana

It’s been a year to date since Vera Pauw was appointed as Banyana Banyana coach. We were led to believe, by the SAFA hierarchy, that she will take women’s football to new heights. Brandishing an impeccable CV, the 52-year-old worked as the technical director of the Russian Football Union and was the country’s interim coach in 2011. She was Netherlands technical director and women’s national coach from 2004-2010, leading the country to the bronze medal in the European Championships in Finland in 2009.Between 1998 and 2004, she was the technical director for the national women’s football in Scotland.

The spoils and riches given to the coach were a far cry on what her predecessor coach Joseph  “Skheshe”  Mkhonza was ever  given. Yet, she failed to qualify for the FIFA  2015 Women’s World Cup to be hosted by Canada. Lest we forget that Skheshe qualified for the 2013 African Women’s Championships 2013 final and also the Olympics so given these milestones by Skheshe, qualifying for the world cup should have been a walk in the park for Vera , who possesses such international pedigree and experience. So where did it all go wrong for her? With promising outcomes on friendlies against ZIMBABWE, NAMIBIA, ZAMBIA ,TANZANIA and BOTSWANA (all minnow’s) and players raving about her training methods and fresh approach to the game? Well it’s simple. Failure to incorporate and discarding of Skheshe to obscurity and alienating his expertise which were acquired during his tenure as Banyana coach, failure to find synergy between U20’s and National team coaches and not forgetting  failure to adapt to local methodologies and harnessing local expertise.

Naivety of expecting to yield results in a short space of time and one of the biggest calamities in Namibia was elevating Portia Modise’s 100th goal achievement to celebrity status during the tournament and forgetting about the team ethos “TEAM FIRST individuals LATER”. Psychological momentum swung away from Banyana on the eve of the semi-final against our nemesis Nigeria.  Portia’s achievement should have been a low key acknowledgement until the tournament was completed.  Cool heads should have prevailed and the coach should have provided that guidance.

However, one cannot solely blame Vera.  I have the greatest respect and humility for Fran Hilton-Smith, on what she has done and achieved for women’s football locally and internationally.  But she is the Achilles heel concerning Banyana. Fran yields so much power and influence on all quarters including the purging of players, officials and dictating the course of women’s football within and outside of SAFA.  Fran needs to go and nest her garden and live a long fruitful retirement as she has overstayed her tenure. Critical factors of success for Banyana: Strengthen and regulate the SASOL coaches qualifications (minimum standard: SAFA Level 1). Incorporate U20 coach to Banyana set up. Have coach Skheshe be brought back to the setup.  Send Vera to Texas to negotiate and reintegrate Kylie Ann Louw, as she is by far our best export. Negotiate with overseas clubs to contract our players and SAFA subsidies part of their salaries as our players need international experience and learn from Botswana’s grassroots programme. Lastly give Vera a long term contract.

MUST WIN Battles for Vera,  She must get credible international opposition and more training camps abroad for the team. She needs to phase out the ageing squad, fight for her own technical staff and have sole control, negotiating long-term contracts for the technical staff. Oh let’s not forget the ailing SASOL league that is horrifically administered by SAFA, who are doing a disservice to women’s football, from not having a proper year program, to shoddy refereeing, the league is besieged by incompetence and mediocre organisation on regional level. Solution!! GIVE THE SASOL LEAGUE TO A MANAGEMENT COMPANY, whose sole mandate should be to elevate the game to professional status within the next four years. SFC


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