Stop the finger pointing and become pro-active

2014-02-01 00:00

WHERE there is a will, there is a way. Change comes from within. Ask not what your country can do for you. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Talking in motivational clichés is a breeze, but living them is a different matter altogether.

South Africa makes it easy for us to point fingers sometimes. Greed among the country’s elite, non-existent service delivery and general incompetence in so many important areas, can leave us feeling a little hard done by and sceptical of those who are supposed to be providing a platform for us to live as proud, thriving South Africans.

Football illustrates this problem clearly, and we have put ourselves to sleep talking about Safa’s continuing failure to facilitate a healthy environment for the sport across all levels. As a result, there is a lot of complaining and finger pointing — with us in the media always first in line to have a go. We moan and groan, but what do we actually do about the problem?

Well, most of us do sweet bugger all.

I have played a fair amount of amateur ball in my short (though as 30 approaches I wish it was shorter) adult life, mostly with Pietermaritzburg’s Savages Football Club. The grounds at Collegians were our fortress, and many a fond memory will remain in mind and heart. But the football club would never have survived without a small group of people prepared to volunteer their time with little in return. During my time at the club, the work of guys such as Ben Hartshorne and Mark Mullenbach was instrumental in giving us all a place we could call home, and there were countless others who devoted time to coaching the juniors — an area where Savages thrives — and gaining nothing but appreciation for their troubles.

Since moving to Durban, I have attended a couple of training sessions at Riverside Football Club, and the first impressions were remarkable. A head coach, assistant coach, fitness coach and a club chairperson greeted us on the first day, and a session a few weeks’ later even saw the emergence of a goalkeeper coach. Not a bad technical team for an amateur club.

Now, I don’t know if any of these blokes are on a payroll — that’s hardly a question to ask your new gaffer after he’s just given you the hairdryer treatment for being one of the more lethargic members of the squad — but I highly doubt it.

For these servants of football, a passion for being involved in the game is what drives them. Not the acclaim, the money or an overloaded ego. Without them, our already-ill football system would be near death. With them, we are able to have a few success stories like Riverside and Savages. Their contributions are appreciated by many, but not by enough.

The idea of service has gotten lost along the way, and it appears that the higher you move up the footballing ladder in this country, the less important it becomes.

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