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FA, Billen must resign after 10-0 loss!

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Many people called yesterday morning trying to verify if what they were reading in the newspapers about the game was true. I could not fault them, because even though I had no doubt that the goal-shy Valere Billen coached side would lose, I did not expect such a huge scoreline

In life we are told that the best way to learn something is to do it the hard way. Meaning, we learn the better tricks in life when faced with unfortunate situations.

Many times this has helped, but in everything there are extremes which no one wants to tread to, because instead of learning you can be swallowed by the situation.

In sports, the universal talk is that practice makes perfect and the more things you do, the more likely you will master the art of doing it.

On Friday, the country’s senior national team recorded its worst defeat in modern football era when it went down 0-10 to the faltered Pharaohs of Egypt in an international friendly match played at a Military Stadium in Al-exan-der, a city which is a two-hour drive from the capital Cairo.

Many people called yesterday morning trying to verify if what they were reading in the newspapers about the game was true.

I could not fault them, because even though I had no doubt that the goal-shy Valere Billen coached side would lose, I did not expect such a huge scoreline.

I can imagine how the players feel after losing by such big margin in football, which then makes me conclude that instead of learning something, the players might have been psychologically left bruised and battered.

I personally felt pity for the young players who went there hoping to learn a thing or two from the game, only to come out dejected and demoralised. Losing 10-0 will never have any positives. Sihlangu has played against many top nations in international competition, but they have not lost with such a margin.

The heaviest thus far remain the 7-1 loss suffered in Lua-nda during the 2002 World Cup qualifier agai-nst Angola.

Siza Dlamini scored the lone goal, as the team eventually lost on aggregate 1-8 to the Angolans.

Other heavy scores have been 0-5 loss to Zambia in an AFCON 1992 qualifier in Lusaka in 1990, similar scoreline against Cameroon in September 1992 in Younde’ in what was the 1994 World Cup qualifier.

A Peter Ndlovu inspired Zimbabwe beat Sihlangu 0-5 at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday 27 June in the COSAFA Castle Cup quarter final. The latest heavy defeat was a 0-6 loss to Togo in Accra during the 2010 World Cup qualifier where Tottenham Hotspurs forward Emanuel Adebayor scored four goals.

These were all great nations who can be named at the same breathe as the Egyptian side that is currently on its lowest ebb having missed out on three great international competitions recently – the 2010 World Cup, 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

And against most of the above nations the national team was coached by African coaches. Maybe I should also add that all the games were official games – meaning that they were necessary, and could not have been avoided.

However, the same cannot be said of the gravy trip to Egypt which on the face of it appears to be nothing but means to spend the remaining E1.6million from the E5million government grant.

Like we said last year, the money is almost finished without the team having played any official match. Sihlangu will only play Angola in a two-legged African Championship (CHAN) games in June.

With reports that the House of Assembly has approved the freezing of the annual E5 million grant until a comprehensive report on the expenditure was delivered, has not made things easier for the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS).

It is true that Sihlangu needs international exposure, but taking it to Egypt was not being realistic on the part of the FA Executive Committee, hoping that they were the one who approved the trip. Apart from being a financial taxing expedition, the scales were too high for the players to climb, when we are struggling to score a goal against low ranking nations like Lesotho and Mozambique.

Billen, as the coach and technician in the team should have known better that at this stage, his team could not be paired against Egypt, unless its an international competition.

If indeed the coach is building a new team, he should have advised his employers against sanctioning a match against the Egyptians who are known for slaughtering visiting teams when playing at home. Has Billen lost his soul, as to allow his CV to be bloodied by such an embarrassing result?

The coach has eroded the little confidence I had in him, and as for his employers, posterity would judge them for taking the nation’s pride to the dogs literally with such bad decisions.

Sihlangu should have better played teams like Malawi, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia if we wanted high profile opposition. Not Egypt.

After the Friday night incident I am left with no choice but to side with the parliamentarians for refusing to release the E5 million grants until a proper report on expenditure, and I think they should also add that the report should be accompanied by a well worked plan on how the team could be improved.

The FA has to account because this is not a FIFA grant but public funds. If the entire FA Executive Committee and the coach do not resign after the 10-0 humiliation, then we should all know that the people at the helm of our football have long lost their conscious.

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