TALKING FOOTBALL

YEAR 2016 is upon us and many footballers are already toiling in the fields working on their technical skills. I have been hearing about Safa’s 2022 vision and its successes. It would help if someone told us more about what this vision entails, including time frames.

What will happen in 2022 and how are we going to get there? Nations’ football successes are judged by results in international competitions like the senior World Cup. Germany and Spain are good examples of countries with a vision and putting plans into action.

I still have to see a house where a roof was put on before a foundation. Twenty years from now South Africa will still be talking a language of learning and building. We lack the political will to do the right things. We are more interested in power than delivering services to our constituencies.

It is important that leaders do not abuse the trust and respect, from the rank and file. The reality is that young potential footballers lack facilities, equipment, coaching and structures like clubs and associations.

Hansi Flick, Germany FA sports director makes a few telling points in his recent interview.

“Focus more on individual quality than previously.” We have to be more in a position to dominate the game.”

The reality of the football situation is that progressive nations are moving at an alarming rate technically. The game requires players that are technically adept and who have the ability to find solutions under pressure of opponents, space and time.

Currently, Safa and PSL have no youth leagues. We are the only football country where there is certain age restriction in promotional leagues. This stupid rule neither benefits senior and youth players. Weekly, I watch football matches across all divisions where the game is more about physicality. The ball is kicked from box to box. Technical-tactical skills are not a priority. I still have to see a football World Cup tournament that was won through physicality.

Flick also speaks about the fact that although the principles of football are universal, the approach or philosophy is different from different nations. What is a South African philosophical or way of playing football? Why have we not conducted research on such important issues? Nations that take themselves seriously know their strengths and work very hard to find out more about themselves.

Let us hope that in 2016 we will be informed about this vision so that people at grass-root level can contribute towards its success. May 2016 also bring about a different attitude to football leaders i.e. good service to players and the game itself. If we continue failing to run leagues properly, ensure that players play in safe environments, provide coaching, etc., 2022 will remain just a number.

Unzima lo mthwalo.

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