PSL players need exposure to World Cup to improve SA game

2014-07-14 16:03

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Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive Brand de Villiers hopes to see a greater representation of domestic league players in future Fifa World Cup tournaments.

“I think it would be good for football in this country if we had more players playing at that high level. It can only raise the competitiveness of our game,” De Villiers said today.

“Exposure to the World Cup will give our players good experience which they can use in our local league.”

The recently concluded tournament in Brazil had three footballers who ply their trade in South Africa.

The Premiership flag bearers at the international spectacle were Ghanaian pair Fatau Dauda, who plays for Orlando Pirates, and Rashid Sumaila of Mamelodi Sundowns. And Nigerian Ejike Uzoenyi is at Sundowns.

Although pleased with the trio’s participation in Brazil, De Villiers said the strength of the Premiership could be improved by greater representation in such competitions.

“If the national team qualifies, then we would have many more players there. And we’re also restricted because we have a limited number of foreign players that can be fielded by clubs.

“We pride ourselves on being one of the best leagues on the continent, and that should also show at an event like the World Cup.”

De Villiers, who recently returned from Brazil, was impressed with the quality of football displayed at the 20th edition of the event.

“We saw a lot of attractive football. It was one of the most exciting World Cups, and I think it lived up to expectations.”

By playing host to the 2010 edition of the World Cup, South Africa had the most Premiership players in that tournament. However, it appeared there was still plenty of work to be done for the mark to be matched or exceeded.

De Villiers was at the Estádio Maracanã two weeks ago for the quarterfinal clash where Germany beat France 1-0. In Rio de Janeiro, the PSL boss witnessed first-hand the precision of the German machine at work.

He said he had picked Germany to hoist the trophy after a dominant showing in the group stages.

The Germans went on to win their fourth World Cup title, overcoming Argentina with a sublime extra-time strike by Mario Götze.

“I felt sorry for Argentina there, but Germany was just better. They were my choice because of the way they play.

“They are a unit and everyone contributes to the team. I definitely think they deserved to win after coming close for so many years.”

De Villiers would be hoping that domestic players were as motivated to emulate the high standards of football that were on display in Rio.

With poor stadium attendance being one of most burning issues in local football, attractive displays on the field of play would go a long way in alleviating that problem.

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