Former Banyana Banyana captain, Simphiwe Dludlu, has warned against the hiring of foreign coaches to lead South African national teams. The Under-17 interim coach says that will bring the same misery that Banyana endured under Dutch coach, Vera Pauw. Under Paw, the senior national team was banned from singing and praying before matches, which according to Dludlu made players less confident and unable to deliver the results.
Pauw was at the helm of the senior national women’s national team for two years, taking the team to the 2014 Women’s Afcon and the 2016 Rio Olympics. But Banyana flattered to deceive as they failed to qualify for their first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup because they could only manage a fourth place finish at the Women’s Afcon. It was the first time in a decade that Banyana failed to finish in the top three at a Women’s AFCON.
Although Dludlu praises Pauw for the tactical awareness that she brought into the team, she questions her methods, suggesting that they stifled team spirit and unity.“The coach brought everything, from different ways of analysing matches, a certain way of conducting yourself in the team. We come from a culture where we sing and laugh, we are loud in the team. That is us as South Africans. I think we came to a common ground where she understood where we come from or where she comes from. When a coach comes and wants things done her way, you have no choice succumb to it,” she tells, adding that players didn’t speak up because they were afraid of losing their places in the Olympic squad.
“Every player that was there wanted to be in the national team, every player that was in there wanted to be liked by the coach so they could get an opportunity to play. Even if they had challenges, they would be afraid to voice them out, few players were able to voice them. Again, we come from a culture whereby when an adult speaks to you, you say yes,” she adds.