Youth teams desperate for technical director

2013-03-31 10:00

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Until Safa appoints a technical director, the status quo of the junior national teams going nowhere will continue.

South Africa’s youth teams have failed to qualify for the continental and international competitions this year.

Currently, Shakes Mashaba is the interim coach for Amajimbos (Under-17s), while Solly Luvhengo is in charge of Amajita (Under-20s).

Mashaba also guided the Under-23s during their failed bid to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The African Youth Championships ended in Algeria yesterday without Amajita among the eight nations that had qualified.

Similarly, the Under-17 continental championships kick off in Morocco next month and the biennial event will mark six years since Amajimbos last qualified.

Both events offer the semifinalists automatic qualification to the World Cup.

Mamelodi Sundowns chief scout Floyd Mogale, who was the only South African at the Algeria championships, said he was mocked for the country’s absence at the Under-20 tournament.

Mamelodi Sundowns chief scout Floyd Mogale (right) Picture: Backpagepix

“I was reminded all the time that ‘you guys in South Africa only host tournaments and your teams can’t qualify’,” said Mogale, a renowned youth coach.

“There is so much that we can learn from countries such as Ghana. Their success is a result of a team that has come together a long way and were now moulded into graduating to the Under-23s. Lack of continuity is what has held back our youth teams. Right now, we have forgotten about our Under-23s because they will only regroup closest to the tournaments – the same thing will happen with other junior teams.”

More than seven players that helped Ghana to the 2009 Fifa Under-20 World Cup triumph are part of their current senior national team set-up.

Thulani Serero and Dino Ndlovu, who are in the pool of coach Gordon Igesund’s team, played in the same tournament in Egypt, but a few years on, they are yet to stake regular places in the Bafana Bafana team.

Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali was there too in the same team that was guided by Bafana assistant coach Serame Letsoaka, who vacated the technical director post in June last year.

Andile Jali and Thulani Serero (left) played in the 2009 Fifa Under-20 World Cup, but have not cracked it into Bafana Bafana a few years on. Picture: Backpagepix

Safa acting technical director Fran Hilton-Smith said the association’s technical master plan has underlined continuity as key to preserving talent within the junior national teams.

Said Hilton-Smith: “A lot will be stabilised once a technical director has been appointed.”

Safa acting CEO Dennis Mumble said: “We are actually in the process of recruiting a technical director and we have received eight applications so far.

“We’ll put up external adverts some time next week to get more applications.

“We are mostly targeting the Safa Level 3 coaches who graduated with A and B marks.

“It is our aim to ensure that young players that represent the country are not lost in the system. Our technical master plan also allows national teams to be linked in a structural way.”

As things stand, there is not even a calendar of events for the junior teams this year.

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