10 steps to save SA soccer

2009-10-11 12:29

THE newly elected Safa leadership faces a mammoth task in fixing the damage that has been done to local football. <strong>TIMOTHY MOLOBI </strong>and<strong> ELIJAH MOHOLOLA</strong> list 10 steps that need to be taken to lift our football up to where it belongs.

1. Proper utilisation of available funds

Safa recorded an unprecedented R25-million profit in the past financial year. The amount included a R19.5-million Fifa grant and R17.7 million from the sale of tickets for the Confederations Cup.

The organisation is

expected to collect a profit of around R1 billion from next year’s World

Cup.

This puts Safa in a

very healthy financial position. If utilised properly these funds could go a

long way to entrench South Africa as a football powerhouse.

Expenditure of all

these monies should include a good coach of international standard, a

well-staffed technical team to assist him as well as a clearly defined

preparation programme that will see the team set up base camps in countries such

as Brazil and more use of modern scientific training methods such as those

provided by the High Performance Centre at the University of Tshwane.

The players’ pay

structure must be discussed well in advance and be put in place even before they

go to camp.

Also, a larger

portion of the money should go towards development. This should include

provision of infrastructure for the 52 Safa regions to ensure they operate

optimally.

Money should also

filter down to the Local Football Associations (LFAs), which are the real

grassroots of our football.

2. A

powerful professional league

The performance of players in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has a

bearing on Bafana Bafana as most members of the national team come from the

domestic league; but the quality of football seen in the PSL is far below

par.

South African clubs struggle on the continent and the best

achievement by a local club is still Orlando Pirates’ winning of the African

Champions’ Cup in 1995 and Kaizer Chiefs’ lifting of the second-tier Mandela Cup

in 2001.

Safa must work with the PSL in supporting clubs to take part in

Confederation of African Football (Caf) competitions and even get government and

corporate South Africa involved in funding these clubs.

3.

Create a player database to ensure proper development monitoring

Too many promising young South African players fall by the wayside

because there is no proper development programme to monitor their growth and

movement.

The likes of Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas, David

Trezeguet and Mikael Silvestre all represented France against South Africa at

the 1997 Fifa Under-20 World Cup staged in Malaysia.

The same championships produced Stephen Appiah (Ghana), Michael

Owen (England), Damien Duff (Ireland) and Juan Roman Requelme (Argentina).

However, South African players such as Japie Motale, Patrick

Mbuthu, Lucky Maselesele and Daniel Matsau, who also took part in that

tournament, have all gone astray.

Should the bulk of the current South African Under-20 national team

that has just returned from Egypt be kept together, they could surely be a force

to reckon with at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in

Brazil.

4.

Develop local coaches

World Cup statistics show that every country that has won the World

Cup has done so being coached by a compatriot.

Safa has lost a lot of time in developing local coaches. It needs

to urgently establish a national soccer academy that will train local coaches

and administrators.

A group of talented coaches must be identified and sent to great

football nations such as Brazil, Germany, England and Holland for regular

refresher courses on the development of the game.

Failure to do this led to Safa having to pay Carlos Alberto

Parreira a hefty R1.8?million a month and Joel Santana R1.4?million in a

quick-fix solution that has yet to yield results.

Also, Safa should ensure that the national coach’s contract is

performance-based.

5.

Have independent and suitably qualified people in administration

There are too many loafers and free-riders at Safa’s Nasrec

headquarters because of jobs for pals. Safa must only employ people with the

relevant expertise and who will contribute to the game’s growth.

6.

One person, one position

The idea of making soccer administration a career leads to

infighting within the local soccer fraternity. There are many good

administrators out there who are not being utilised because local soccer is run

as a one-man show.

The concept of one man, one position must be introduced.

7.

Regulate foreign coaches and players

Safa must introduce stringent conditions on the qualifications of

foreign coaches and foreign players who can be signed on by clubs. The influx of

foreign players stifles the development of our own talent and foreign coaches

tamper with our style of play and football culture.

8. Be

strict on which leagues our players move to

Prevent our players from going to irrelevant leagues

overseas.

Players should only move to leagues that will improve their quality

of soccer and not only their financial standing.

9.

Adopt a scientific approach to football

South Africa has many world- class institutions of higher learning

with specific sports science faculties. Safa should take advantage of

these.

It is in these institutions that South Africa’s football

deficiencies, such as lack of physical strength, poor mental awareness and poor

diet, can be addressed.

10.

Forge stronger ties with government and big corporates

The previous Safa leadership tended to show scant respect for these

two institutions.

It even rejected the annual grant from government. This must be

­revived and the money must be ­utilised in development.

As previous World Cup tournaments in other countries have shown,

partnership between sport, government and big business is very important. The

current leadership must ensure it maintains a very healthy relationship with

these important stakeholders.



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