New season, little joy

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Yet another Premier Soccer League (PSL) season is upon us as the Absa Premiership starts on Friday evening with the Mpumalanga Black Aces v Kaizer Chiefs match.

However, it is sad that despite what was dubbed an exciting season by many experts, there has been no exodus of South African players to better European leagues.

In fact what we have seen is the return from Germany to these shores of Zimbabwean striker Knowledge Musona who left after being the top goalscorer two seasons ago.

We haven’t even seen talent scouts form a bee-line heading for Mzansi in search of new talent to beef clubs from their countries.

This is sad and a serious indictment for our football and is a sign of a bleak future for our beloved national team, Bafana Bafana.

To make any waves in international football, we need to have a steady flow of South African players making it in top European leagues. They will in turn come back and inject the knowledge they gain there into the nation team.

One doesn’t have go look any further than the time when the team had the likes of Mark Williams, Doctor Khumalo, Shaun Bartlett, Phil Masinga, Lucas Radebe, Shoes Moshoeu and the young Benny McCarthy plying their trade overseas.

Bafana Bafana were no pushovers on the continent.

Something needs to be done to have our players attract overseas clubs once more.

It is an anomaly that we have a league that is ranked in the top 10 in terms of revenue but we don’t produce talent that is good to feature in the top leagues in the world.

Until we have players plying their trade in top European Leagues such as the English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Italian, where they will rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world and also be exposed to training methods of top dogs such as Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Tito Vilanova, Marcello Lippi, Jurgen Klopp and Roberto Mancini, Bafana will always remain the poorer.

Why, we don’t even import our coaches and there are very few of them who make trips to Europe for refresher courses during the off-season. Some are quite content with the knowledge they have.

As a result, we see local coaches playing the musical chairs every season where they move from club to club. Those that get fired, just have to wait for the next one to be fired and then take up his position.

This has contributed a great deal to our football being stagnant as instead of getting fresh ideas, our players are only exposed to existing ones that are just circulated and recycled within the PSL.

And we wonder why our national team cannot even win a regional tournament like the Cosafa Challenge that just features countries from Southern Africa with a sprinkling of islands such as Mauritius, the Seychelles, Reunion and Madagascar.

Toss me another one!

How can we be world-beaters when we can’t even conquer the region?

The PSL is the main supplier of players to the national team. Bafana Bafana’s weakness is an indication of a poor PSL and a poor supply of professional players playing in top leagues.

Our football authorities - on both the professional and amateur spheres of the game - need to do something about this.

If this situation is not attended to and corrected, we will continue being the whipping boys of regional, continental and world football and thus remain a laughing stock of the world.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
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