Where is the patriotic spirit? Irvin Khoza asks

2014-09-04 15:49

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South African players lack the necessary respect for the national jersey and only have self-interest at heart, the country’s football league chief Irvin Khoza has said.

Speaking in Durban today, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson said the attitude of players needed to change if the standard of the game was to improve.

“In other countries like Germany and Brazil, there is pride to wear the national jersey; they don’t talk about money. But here in South Africa, our players, even before they put on the jersey they want to negotiate,” he said.

“The painful thing is that the clubs pay those players even if they don’t play. But when they play for the national team, again they want to cash in. Where is the patriotic spirit? We really lack it in this country.”

Khoza was addressing a press conference at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where the league formally launched its MultiChoice Reserve League Diski Challenge, which kicks off in KwaZulu-Natal next weekend.

The competition, which will run from September to March next year, is a single round event that will give the 16 top-flight clubs an opportunity to blood some of their younger players, giving them playing time.

Khoza felt the development of players went far beyond this competition, or others like it, adding that young South African footballers must take lessons from their counterparts in other nations.

“The development of a 20-year-old takes 20 years, 35 hours a week,” he said.

“It cannot just be done as a once-off or overnight or in a few months.

“Those players from the top countries are playing consistently and interacting with coaches continuously. They learn important things like the importance of the jersey and patriotism. We are not playing for the national team to be paid.”

Striking players were common in Africa, while Bafana Bafana had also had its fair share of national team members fighting over financial issues.

Khoza, meanwhile, also played down any rift between the PSL and the national body – the South African Football Association (Safa) – over the formation of the league, which was initially introduced as a three-year programme.

“We are working alongside Safa; there is no competition with Safa. We are affiliates of Safa,” he said.

“There can never be competition. We are running the business of football. It’s a stressful business and we always have to work together to look for solutions.

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