Rethink development plans — Cousins

2010-03-16 00:00

FORMER Arcadia Shepperds and Moroka Swallows hot-shot striker Noel Cousins has challenged the South African Football Association (Safa) to rethink its development plans.

Cousins was speaking to The Witness during the Coca-Cola Football Stars finals tournament being contested by four KwaZulu-Natal schools at SJ Smith Stadium, in Wema, Durban on Saturday.

The participants were U18s and while Cousins expressed happiness at the talent displayed at the tournament, he felt that the players should be developed much earlier than they currently are.

“It is important the players are exposed to competitive football at an early age.

“Ideally there should be the U11s to U18s where players are taught the basics. It is disappointing to see players who are nearing 18 still battling to get their shooting and passing right.

“We cannot cut corners if we are serious about development. You cannot blame these players, though, because there are no development structures where they should be taught all these things,” said Cousins, who was popularly known as Phinda Mzala, owing to his scoring of goals.

Cousins, who was in Durban as a scout for Coca-Cola, was critical of PSL clubs who have done away with U13s and U14s, arguing that this is a critical period for players’ development.

“As a country we have to become vigilant about this aspect of the game. I have been to Turkey, Holland and England where development is run so well,” said Cousins, who nows heads the Gauteng-based academy that has produced three players for the national U17 team.

Meanwhile, Pietermaritzburg’s KwaPata Secondary School lost out in representing KwaZulu-Natal in the national finals in April in Soweto when they lost 4-2 on penalties against Richards Bay’s Tisand.

KwaPata had beaten Thalane 3-0 in the earlier semi-final while Tisand thrashed Uxolo Phambili 2-0 in another match. Former Bafana Bafana international Helman Mkhalele was in attendance and was impressed by the level of competition among the pupils.

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