Marshall Plan to save SA football

2012-12-02 10:00

Research will be pointless if recommendations are not implemented.

Safa is expected to make a major announcement on a Marshall Plan to save South African football.

But the key questions are whether it will be implemented and how, and if so, where the funding will come from.

Details of the plan on how to map the way forward will be revealed this week by Safa with the launch of the development agency.

This comes against the backdrop of this week’s release of the findings of the Art, Philosophy and Science of Football in South Africa research by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra).

The organisation concluded that South Africa needed systematic youth football development.

Chris Fortuin, leader of the Mapungubwe football research project, said the ball was now firmly in Safa’s court to implement the findings, which would have far-reaching implications.

Fortuin, who holds a master’s degree in sports management, said it would be an injustice, and he would be highly disappointed, if their recommendations were not implemented, as has happened with previous plans.

It is an open secret that former Bafana Bafana coaches Carlos Queiroz, Stuart Baxter and Carlos Parreira all developed manuals to address their concerns about development – but nothing was done.

Fortuin said Safa needed to start delivering on its mandate to develop football in the country.

“I am aware a lot has been suggested in the past as I was sitting with Carlos Queiroz’s plan when we were doing the research, but nothing has been done. If we are serious about taking the sport forward, we need to start implementing the recommendations,” said Fortuin.

Safa chief executive Robin Petersen said the findings of the research fitted with their technical master plan developed earlier this year.

Petersen said had they not done this before, the research would have exposed the lack of a development plan.

“We have already made strides in addressing some of the issues raised in the research as we worked together. We are happy that everyone is now coming on board to help towards the development of our football,” said Petersen.

The 18-month Mistra research came about as a result of the successes and failures of Bafana Bafana in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, said Fortuin.

“After being the first host country to be knocked out in the first round of the World Cup, we realised there was a need to do scientific research to address our shortcomings, and our findings were shocking, to say the least,” he said.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani hailed the findings and commended the researchers for a job well done.

Nematandani said there had been little material to talk about in libraries.

“This is ground-breaking scientific research and it augurs well for our technical master plan. There are similarities to what has been discovered as we have only been focusing on strategies rather than research. Now we can use different youth development models,” said Nematandani.

He said what was good about the research were the comparisons made with other countries.

“This has been an eye-opener to a great extent and we believe if we work well together we will be able to change the scope of South African football.

“I am very excited as this hits at the core of football development.”

He said he had no doubt they would be able to implement the recommendations suggested in

the report.

- City Press

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