What are we to make of the mixed messages about England’s SA base?

Will the Bafokeng Sports Campus be ready for England in June? Perhaps not, says The Independent. What’s the problem, says the king of the Royal Bafokeng Nation? Well, you’re both giving us different stories. Fans will inevitably ask questions under such circumstances.

Earlier this year we were told Fabio Capello was unhappy with progress at the base. His discontent at one stage threatened the whole deal. Now it seems there are still problems.

Yesterday The Independent on Sunday said “England's training base remains a construction site.”

Its reporter wrote of landscaping work still to start, an unfinished clubhouse, the poor state of roads leading to the Royal Bafokeng stadium (where England’s first group game, against the USA, takes place), and workers swarming around the gym and physiotherapy building.

Today the king of the semi-autonomous Royal Bafokeng region used an interview with the same newspaper to have his say.

“I can't understand that coverage, because it's not the truth,” said 42-year-old Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi.

“The campus is almost complete and we're putting the finishing touches in place. The FA have been round, and they liked what they saw. Essentially it's all systems go.”

Regardless of who is telling the truth, there had to be some solid reasons why Capello and the FA stuck with the Bafokeng scheme.

The Independent says the Royal Bafokeng stadium and Soccer City, possible venues for England knock out games, are easily reached by road from Rastenburg.

That’s fair enough if all goes to plan but it may not. Being based in the North West won’t help England if they finish second in Group C. If that happens they could face a quarter final trek to Cape Town. More to the point, neither of the semis will take place in the North West. Of course the tournament ends at Soccer City in Johannesburg, which is much more convenient for England.

Keeping his players away from the press and temptation is probably just as important to Capello as possible venues for matches. He has the ideal remote location to meet this objective. Is this the real reason why Capello and the FA are relaxed about the Bafokeng Sports Campus?

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