2016-02-04 06:00

THE technical and/or tactical part of football is not growing at the same rate as the business side of things in our country. The R40 entrance fee to our professional matches explains this.

It is no longer possible these days to get two hours of entertainment for this amount. Interestingly, the quality of pitches has improved, but the lack of junior and youth structures, absence of good coaches, poor facilities are the major causes of these problems.Government, Safa, PSL and parents should shoulder the blame for this state of affairs. Excellent footballers do not grow on the trees like fruit, they have to be developed. Quality takes time. I do not think we are investing enough time and quality in training young players. We also seem to lack a culture of wanting to excel. We are more driven by the need to make money than to improve ourselves.

Mind-sets have to change if South Africa is to become a world power in football. We must stop calling players over the age of 20 youngsters. Players between the ages 17 and 19 are not breaking into professional football. The lack of, or poor training, in the lower levels is to blame for this. It is also unfair to blame coaches in professional clubs for not using younger players. The ability to perform is the sole criteria in professional ranks.

This past weekend the biggest football match in South Africa i.e. Pirates vs Chiefs, was disappointing in terms of technical quality. There were more long balls and physicality in the match. The match was very poor. It would be unfair to blame players and their coaches in this instance. The reality is that South African football is mainly kick-and-rush at every level. Children from an early age are encouraged to kick the ball from box to box. Results, at all cost, seem to be the objective.

The sad reality is that football at international level is more about technical and/or tactical efficiency. The past two World Cups have proved the importance of developing highly skilled footballers. You may bulldoze the English Premier League or PSL and win. However, top competitions like the champions league and World Cup demand class. It is also not sustainable to play what I call “ chance-chance” football.

We ask that clubs and coaches focus on developing our players’ technical and/or tactical skills. A few years ago a journalist told Bongi Hlophe that Maritzburg City FC will never be promoted because of their “fancy” style of football.

The club was not promoted to PSL, but not because of football reasons. However, the majority­ of players from that group went on to dominate in South African professional and national­ teams.

Unzima lo mthwalo.


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