If YOU really love South African football… then we should agree that many expectations and promises are still to be fulfilled to make this football nation truly happy. For Kaizer Chiefs supporters there is joy and celebrations for winning the league deservedly, convincingly and almost unopposed. More exciting moments are expected at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) awards and that’s normal too.
Yet, for those so many football fans who are aware or care of the huge potential and attributes of South African talent and appreciate quality and attractive football, satisfaction is denied. Better knowledge of the game and exposure to excellent international football has become a strong influential factor that educates the fans about what must be done to make SA football a quality show.
Accurate observations, valid criticism and suggestions addressing the current problems in the development of youth, professional game and national teams show serious concern of supporters, honest coaches and some objective people in the media. Of all those setbacks, the following should top the list of worries.
– There is no answer, still, to the general question asked by coaches, players, experts, fans and media, ‘how South African football should be played? Without a national playing philosophy everything – from talent development to national teams – there cannot be quality development, style identity, progress, sustained performance and success!
– Continual disregard for the natural attributes of SA players which is reflected in the enforcement of old/irrelevant (imported) coaching and training mentalities/methods. It is estimated that in the PSL and National Teams only less than half of players’ actual potential is developed and utilized!! (Though few young ‘rebel’ players in the PSL have managed to express glimpses of such immense potential)
– As a consequence of inconsistent/ineffective talent development there is a critical shortage of outstanding young players (world class profile) at all levels of local competitive game and national teams.
– The key principle of coach and players having similar cultural and environmental background is completely ignored in hiring club coaches and yet this principle has been recently identified as essential in producing consistent successful performances.
– Baseless and unfair criticism of players regarding their poor rate of scoring (Robert Marawa’s show and other media channels), ‘poor decision making’ (i.e., Neil Tovey) or ‘not being able to play simple’ (I.e., Farouk Khan) exposes the lack of technical knowledge and confusing views that can have misleading/harmful effect. Those critical points – low scoring capability, poor decision making and inability to simplify play – are all the results of many hundreds of training hours missing from the players development stages and they should not be blamed for such vast omissions!!
– In the absence of SA playing philosophy, most professional coaches – mainly foreigners – impose their own game ideologies which contrast heavily not only with the players’ nature but also with some advanced and vital play principles.
The recent statement made by a foreign coach in SA that ‘individuality’ doesn’t exist in modern football must be strongly refuted. The recognition and application of dominant individuality as an advanced principle of play is imperative–especially in the context of African/SA football where certain qualities of players are of exceptional value for controlling the game and winning it.
These are some of the important challenge South African football is faced with and if you love this nation’s game and care of its future, do something about!
By Ted Dumitru
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