Numbers tell the story

2011-10-22 19:43

A few years ago, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) recommended that all 16 clubs establish development structures in a bid to fast-track homegrown talent.

As a result, the number of successful local football players is beginning to grow. However, there are still not enough players coming through as only a few PSL teams like Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United and Ajax Cape Town boast top-class youth academies.

This can be seen from the crop of players who have come through the ranks. Wits’ right-winger Sifiso Myeni, striker Thulani Serero of Ajax Amsterdam and former United and current Orlando Pirates’ attacking midfielder, Daine Klate, are among the talented players who came through the PSL clubs’ academy ranks.

A City Press survey this week showed that most PSL clubs have systems in place, but there seems to be no synergy between the clubs and their development structures, which becomes evident in the small number of players being promoted to the senior teams.

Commenting on the matter, PSL general manager Derek Blanckensee said the league was currently conducting an audit to evaluate the system.

“At the moment, we have no idea of the kind of develop-ment structures in the clubs. However, I’m aware that some clubs have successful, well-structured academies which is a good thing because they don’t have to import players from other countries,” he said.

Godfrey Mosoetsa, a former United development coach who is now part of the senior team, said in European countries like Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, player development didn’t happen in a void but was part of a consistent and systematic process.

He said great players such as Lionel Messi of Argentina were not developed overnight, but were nurtured over the years. “Look at the Spain national team. It is made up of players who came through the academy system.

“I think there’s commitment to this course here in South Africa, but we need to come up with a vision that will pave the way for future generations,” said Mosoetsa.

Andries “Chaka Chaka” Mpondo, a former Moroka Swallows great who is now a development coach, said South Africa needs to invest heavily in its youth.

“The structures exist but I think we need a new approach to replace the current system,” he said. “It’s important that we take on this challenge in
a serious way. Our national team is not doing well, which indicates a problem with our development structures.”

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