Follow EU’s best practice

2014-07-16 00:00

LLOYD Burnard’s “From the Spot” column published on July 12 has reference.

Whilst it is totally correct that the German Football Association has a detailed playing style and philosophy, mention must be made of their excellent development programme because without the necessary raw materials in the form of young talent, the best tools and philosophies will be of little use.

Germany totally overhauled their development programme in 2000 following disappointing results at international level. In that year’s European Championship, Germany finished bottom of their group and without winning a game.

What followed was a fundamental change of emphasis, with youth development now at the fore. And the new measures that were implemented soon began to pay off, with the number of U23 players regularly featuring in first teams in the Bundesliga jumping from six percent in 2000 to 15% in 2010.

German clubs now have to prove they can run their academies well before being able to obtain a licence from the association and the league. They must also have sound finances and the liquidity to cover their spending plans.

As a result, Bundesliga clubs now invest around €100 million (R1,45 billion) per year in their academies, and there is close scrutiny from the German Football Association.

Every three years, the association’s inspectors arrive at each Bundesliga club to put their academies to the test. There are about 800 questions to be answered, covering everything from training, to facilities provided, to how the youngsters are supported at school. If the requirements are not met, the club will lose its licence.

There is surely a message here for South Africa’s football situation. It isn’t to copy the Germans but it is, follow international best practice to make full use of the resources and finances we have to develop our young talent, or else continue to be outside the top 50 in world football. There is a way but do we have the will?

PS. Germany have had the same national team coach since 2006. This is the first trophy he has won.

DAN HASWELL

Football coach Pietermaritzburg

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