The game plan for youth

2010-09-19 17:50

The failure of South Africa’s national junior team calls for solutions. DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE discusses the way forward with some of the country’s most renowned development coaches.

Former SA under-12 coach and director of the Africa Sport Youth Development Academy Harold “Jersey Queen” Legodi has criticised the appointment of Solly Luvhengo as Amajimbos coach and Khabo Zondo as ­Amajita coach.

Legodi, who won the Danone Nations Cup with the Tsetse Flies in 2003, said the pair lacked the experience, and for this reason their appointment had raised eyebrows.

Referring to Luvhengo’s other role, as women’s under-17 coach, Legodi said: “Solly does not even have the capacity to hold two ­positions.

“Does that mean we do not have enough youth coaches in the country?”

Zondo, who has had brief stints as Bafana Bafana assistant coach, was installed as Amajita’s coach a year after his previous coaching job at Bay United, while Luvhengo previously worked as development coach at SuperSport and coached Winners Park in the First Division.

“We need coaches with a proven track record in youth development, who are well educated and constantly keep up with modern football trends,” said Farouk Khan of Stars for Africa ­Academy.

“We need accountable people up there because our teams’ failure is a consequence of an inability to plan,” Khan said.

Ajax Cape Town under-17 coach Roger Links said: “We need coaches who have the background of having worked within the development structures for a long time.”

Mamelodi Sundowns head of youth, Floyd Mogale, concurred. “The appointments are wrong – and it is not to say that I want the job.

“We need coaches, such as Paradise Moeketsi, who have a track record of having coached from the ­under-12s, 14s and 17s right up to the under-20s.”

“There should be a synergy ­between national coaches and the regions,” said SuperSport United’s development general manager and head of recruitment, Godfrey Mosoetsa.

Player selection/scouting ­network
The teams’ composition was not a true reflection of the country, lamented Links.

“It raises questions of whether we have a national scouting system in place,” he said.

Amajita had 10 players from SuperSport United in their squad of 22 which lost 2-0 to ­Lesotho in the African Youth Championship’s first-leg qualifier in July.

They lost on the away goal rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw.

Mosoetsa was of the view that academies in Johannesburg and Cape Town are centralised and that while these institutions continue to be obvious scouting ground for national coaches, “the scouts might be overlooking ­another exceptional talent who has no academy – for ­instance in ­Mthatha”.

“It is clear that some players are recommended by their business managers,” Mogale said, adding: “Youth football is a ­specialised project and we should not allow the wrong people to be in charge, which is the case now.”

Khan said: “Coaches should ­realise they do not own the ­national teams; therefore personal differences should be put aside.”

Choice of ­preparation ­matches
South Africa has more often than not engaged its southern ­African regional neighbours, mainly Lesotho and Swaziland, and come up against countries from northern and western Africa only in competition.

Safa views
Safa technical director Serame Letsoaka said: “I agree that our player selection is very limited.”

Letsoaka said Safa was going to establish provincial academies and identify schools that would work as ­satellites.
Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala, the director of junior national teams, said he was “not involved in technical matters”.

Despite his vast coaching experience, Tshabalala said only: “I cannot impose myself when we have a technical director and coaches across the board.”


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