Can Brand de Villiers light the PSL fire?

2013-07-07 10:00

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New boss Brand de Villiers will never find a dull moment in the richest league in Africa, writes Timothy Molobi

The PSL might be functioning like a well-oiled machine, but as the new boss will find out, there are still a lot of potholes ahead.

Hopefully, De Villiers has gone through the conditions of his employment contract properly and understood all the fine print before putting pen to paper.

Although he has a long association with football, dating back to the Vodacom Challenge, he will need balls of steel to survive in the league as he will be dealing with hard-to-please club bosses who are mainly interested in raking in the money.

De Villiers will need to quickly establish a good working relationship with the club bosses while treading carefully at the same time.

His two immediate predecessors lasted less than six months, which is indicative of the cut-throat nature of his position.

Tips on how he should survive:

1. Mending and keeping relations with Safa

Just as many thought the relationship between the two parties was getting better, it deteriorated again last week, with Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung calling the Bafana Bafana coach to order for “misrepresenting the facts”.

Mending relations should be a priority for De Villiers as a healthy relationship can only benefit South African football.

2. Club versus country debacle

One of the thorny issues still facing our football is that of players’ release for national duty. This has been going on for a long time and it’s about time it ended. No national team can operate without players and the PSL clubs need to come to the party. The national team is a window that exposes players to the outside world, giving them opportunities to be spotted by talent scouts. There should be systems in place to ensure cordial release of players without their clubs refusing them permission.

3. Get National First Division house in order

Having some NFD clubs play 28 matches, and others 30, should not have been allowed to happen. All the outstanding legal cases should have been dealt with long ago. He must quickly find a sponsor for the NFD, correct the promotion/relegation process, which is currently a disaster, and return to the straight two up, two down system.

4. Improve the standard of play

This can be done in three spheres. Establish the long-mooted professional-referees body, improve playing facilities and decrease the number of foreigners in the league, and introduce stringent measures to gauge their quality, such as the number of caps they have for their countries.

5. Getting supporters back to stadiums

De Villiers has already said that his biggest challenge is to get bums on seats. The dwindling numbers at stadiums is a disgrace and De Villiers should prioritise encouraging fans back. Fans need to be entertained and they won’t flock back to watch mediocre performances.

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