Retired Bafana Bafana defender Macbeth Sibaya believes the South Africans could have done better if the 2010 Fifa World Cup was staged on a different continent.
The former Jomo Cosmos and Moroka Swallows anchorman believes some of the players were caught between being citizens and players, thus making it difficult for them to focus on their matches.
He insists that the squad was distracted by the activities that surrounded the team and that eventually led to some failing to focus and fight the right balance between being a player and a supporter.
“It’s difficult to sum everything up. One was caught between being a citizen of a hosting nation and a player,” Sibaya told IOL.
“There were also ambitions that needed to be reached by the team, and there were a whole lot of activities that were surrounding the World Cup, so it was quite difficult to deal with everything and being everything at once.”
Under the guidance of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and Pitso Mosimane, the 1996 African champions bowed out of the tournament in the group stage after a draw against Mexico, a defeat to Uruguay, and a victory over France.
“It could have been easy if the tournament was played on another continent. Maybe if as a country we were used to qualifying for major tournaments, that would have also made our job a little bit easier,” Sibaya added.
“There was a very big gap between Germany and Korea/Japan. There was an eight-year gap between Korea/Japan and 2010.
"A huge gap. We didn’t participate in big competitions, and as a country, we struggled in the [Africa] Nations Cup and so forth.”
Having been one of the top players in the Bafana camp whilst playing for Rubin Kazan in Russia, the 42-year-old believes their failure to do well could be attributed to a number of factors.
“The problem is that the ambitions and commitments as a country have shifted so you are likely to be a victim of those changes,” Sibaya explained.
“Most of the players who’ve not made it overseas are victims of our perfection like a country and community. One can easily be influenced by a shift of thought or ambition.
“So, there are factors that contributed to some of the players that didn’t make it abroad. But it’s not only from football, but it could also be any type of career.”