Cavin Johnson: SA footballers need to play overseas

2014-10-07 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Former SuperSport United manager Cavin Johnson believes that South Africa’s top players need to ply their trade overseas if they are to fulfil their potential.

Johnson, who nurtured talents at the School of Excellence and in the Ajax Cape Town youth system before becoming head coach of Platinum Stars, has been credited with a key role in the development of Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, the only South African in the Premier League.

As such, he is well placed to comment on the development of local talent, an area in which he feels South Africa is falling short.

“The fact that we haven’t produced another player of Steven Pienaar’s quality in 10-15 years surely is a serious concern and it doesn’t sit well with me as a coach,” Johnson told Football411.

“It is a combination of a lot of things the way I see it, firstly the people in the country need to understand what development is about, the phases involved.

“In all respects South Africa has some of the best naturally gifted players, but we do not use that and that is where the problem is.

“He [Pienaar] had the chance to play for Chiefs and Pirates when he was 17-years-old, he didn’t do that because he spread his wings broadly, and that is what we need to do as South Africans.

“[Oupa] Manyisa, [George] Lebese are highly gifted quality players what are they still doing in the country? They should have left long ago.”

Having come through the Ajax Cape Town youth system, an 18-year-old Pienaar left for the Netherlands in 2001 to join Ajax Amsterdam before going on to play for Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.

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