2015-08-13 06:00

IT is interesting that Orlando Pirates continue getting results in the African Champions League. They reached the final against an Egyptian opposition in the previous competition. It is worth noting that last time they had 11 South Africans in the starting line-up and a South African coach.

Currently they are the only club in the PSL playing mainly with South African-born players, also led technically by South Africans. It will help to do a bit more research on these observations. I believe the opposition were complaining about “trickery”, “showboating” of Orlando Pirates players.

I still have to read the new Fifa rules. However, I doubt if technical expression is in contravention of the laws of the game. People have no business to tell others how they should play their game.

Before continuing let me state upfront that I have no problem with clubs recruiting talent anywhere in the world. It is their right to do as they please. However, the point is that we already have the best talent in the world of football. This is the kind of talent that, if nurtured correctly, can win a club or country international honours.

Unfortunately, we are part of a culture that says foreign labels are better than local products. We continue to look at ourselves with foreign-tinted eyes. When Messi does a fake that results in a goal, South African media goes berserk. However, the execution of similar actions [in SA] is mentioned in negative terms.

The biggest challenge currently is to find administrative and technical leadership that matches South African football talent. The game is led presently by men and women who have no clue about the qualities of young South African footballers. These are men and women who would do better teaching English or running retail businesses. Football is not just about kicking a ball. It also has social, mental, emotional and psychological elements.

Is it possible to develop something that you do not understand? When are we going to commission research on the local game? It is not surprising to hear technical “leaders” talking about adopting Dutch or German models. We are too lazy to do work ourselves, hence this business of cut and paste.

Pep of Barcelona and Bayern Munich fame talks about his love for midfielders. Generally, midfielders are brainy players with qualities to initiate, participate in actions and finish up the action. What nonsense is our talking about in terms of developing strikers. Why bother about single-task players while having the potential to develop multi-task players? Why would Oupa Manyisa of Orlando Pirates not lead the attack? Why put your most gifted player far away from the goals? It is about time we moved away from stereotype thinking.

South Africans should consider themselves lucky to have many players with midfield and/or creative qualities. Currently, a top European team – Champions’ League winners, Barcelona FC - plays with midfielders as forwards i.e. Neyma and Messi. We need to play to the strength of our players.

I hope our guys locally will look at these things moving forward. We have proved these ideas to be working in the past. The interesting thing is that even football internationally is calling for players who can play in two or more areas.

The world is calling for innovative ideas. South African football coaches are in a fortunate position. We have talent that cannot be found anywhere in the world. We need to develop appropriate methods to develop this talent.

Simplistic training methods will not help get the best out of our young players. Encourage them to try things out, to make mistakes. There is no limit technically and/or tactically on the development of South African talent.

Unzima lo mthwalo

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