Our youth development is in the state of mess and your immediate intervention is absolutely necessary. The embarrassing results of our Under-17 and Under-20 national teams in most recent matches played in Namibia and against Malawi respectively are unacceptable, Sir.
Despite our commitment and passion we as youth coaches work without any proper guidance, recognition and support. There are serious problems with the lack of knowledge and qualification, training conditions and equipment, unemployment and administration of youth teams. In this respect your leadership is facing a serious challenge.
To find the right solutions it is imperative and urgent that we have a youth coaches’ indaba. As a youth coach and educator I believe that the following concerns must be addressed at the national youth coaches conference:
a. To adopt the South African football philosophy as the guideline for developing our talent. This national football identity must recognize the natural strengths of our players.
b. To remove all foreign coaching influences that are confusing and misleading youth coaches in the country. No such foreign coaching culture has ever succeeded in African football.
c. To empower youth coaches with knowledge that matches and addresses the needs and abilities of South African youth. We are aware that advanced youth training methods are available locally but not provided to all youth coaches.
d. The issue of arbitrarily, unfairly and discriminatorily appointment of national youth coaches and selectors must be severely dealt with. The merits of highly successful and experienced local youth coaches are ignored against the interest of the nation.
e. To reconsider the principles and reasons of current youth competitions and produce a workable and more effective solution. The lack of national championships for U17 and U19 is a big impediment for the development of top class players.
f. To institute a Youth Development Committee with strong representation of country’s most knowledgeable coaches. Without this structure our youth development has no direction, monitoring and control.
g. To urgently resolve the issues of training conditions and lack of equipment. These fundamental requirements in coaching youth cannot be ignored.
h. Special attention must be given to issues of unemployment and fair retribution that are of great concern for youth coaches.
Without addressing these essential requirements the very crucial aspect of developing high level players would remain unachievable. I hope your intervention to resolve this challenge will revive youth coaches’ dedication and effort.
Yours in Youth Development,
Vincent ‘Pro’ Sabelo