With their dreams shattered by a touring England side on Monday, Platinum Stars’ much vaunted ‘Platinum Generation’ are this week beginning the post-mortem. This was supposed to be the Stars’ great chance to shine, but yet again they have fallen short on the largest stage.
After going behind to a shock early goal to what appeared to be a competition-winning team mascot, the Stars fell apart entirely, conceding a second to the unemployed Joseph Cole, and a humiliating late third strike to a man who had seemingly wandered in from the car-park where he had being previously enjoying a nutritious fight.
Former footballer Mark Fish was savage in his dissection of coach Steve Khompela’s tactics. “I just don’t know why we persisted with the same combinations. They are supposedly ‘great players’, and should be able to work it out after all these years, but it is plain to see that Kagiso Senamela and Coldrin Coetzee can’t play together in midfield”.
The Stars were similarly toothless in attack, with Fish urging greater flexibility up front. “It may be controversial,” FIsh mused, “but I think it’s time for Khompela to rethink the classic ‘big South African man’ – ‘little South African man’ strike combo”. The closest the team came to scoring was through a missed penalty from Bradley Grobler, who can at least console himself with a lucrative series of upcoming adverts for Biltong Hut.
Speaking outside the stadium, local fan Siyabonga Masinga was downcast, but pragmatic. “We always go into these games with so much hype and bluster. I really don’t know why we talk ourselves up as this ‘big team’ – perhaps this is our true level: a sixteenth-final team”.