SA foot­ball has been stag­nant for far too long

CityPress - - Sport - S’Bu­siso Mse­leku sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Sbu_Mse­leku

That is the un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion of South African foot­ball.

No mat­ter how much a South African na­tional coach can search, the fact will re­main that there is very lit­tle to choose from.

The ques­tion is: Why is South African foot­ball in this sticky sit­u­a­tion? The ac­cus­ing fin­ger must be pointed at the lead­er­ship.

We have had enough time to pro­duce play­ers of high qual­ity. How­ever, we have failed dis­mally. One does not have to look any fur­ther than the do­mes­tic league.

A closer look at Pre­mier Soc­cer League matches would show that our play­ers still com­mit el­e­men­tary school­boy mis­takes.

One would be ap­palled if one was to com­pile sta­tis­tics of how many passes go astray, how many shots are on tar­get and how many stun­ning goals are scored.

The play­ers who do score some stun­ning goals, such as Hlom­pho Kekana, tend to do it once in a while rather than week in and week out.

We don’t have play­ers who can convert at least one or two out of three free kicks from a favourable po­si­tion.

In­stead, week in and week out, we see free kicks bal­looned way over the cross­bar if not way off the tar­get.

Our foot­ball re­mains a game of “finder-finder” or “chay­isa”, as they call it in the town­ships, with play­ers try­ing tricks that some­times work, but most of the time fail. It con­tin­ues to be guess­work. Which brings me to two sto­ries re­lated to me by a for­mer mem­ber of the Bafana tech­ni­cal team.

One in­ci­dent hap­pend when the na­tional team went to camp in Ger­many dur­ing their prepa­ra­tions for the 2010 World Cup.

A se­nior player who was earn­ing a very high salary at his club failed so dis­mally to place cor­ner kicks and free kicks that one of the phys­i­cal train­ers had to guide him on how to get his pos­ture right.

An­other in­ci­dent re­lates to a player who quipped af­ter a de­feat: “How can we win foot­ball matches when the coach uses a torch to teach us foot­ball?”

The torch be­ing re­ferred to was a laser pointer that the coach – who was a for­eigner – used when ex­plain­ing tac­tics on the board.

Our foot­ball needs to­tal dis­man­tling and a fresh start with a proper vi­sion that will once more pro­duce qual­ity play­ers such as Steve “Kala­ma­zoo” Mokone who went to com­pete ex­cel­lently in Europe, Patrick “Ace” Nt­soe­len­goe, who is the only Hall of Fame re­cip­i­ent in the North Amer­i­can Soc­cer League, and Jomo Sono, who used to bam­boo­zle other play­ers while rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of Pelé at New York Cos­mos. No mat­ter what yes­ter­day’s score was, South African soc­cer still has a long way to go.

Here is the 24-man Sene­gal squad for you to make up your mind: Goal­keep­ers: Ab­doulaye Diallo (Çaykur Rize­s­por‚ Turkey)‚ Khadim Ndi­aye (Horoya‚ Guinea)‚ Pape Sey­dou Ndi­aye (Niary Tally) De­fend­ers: Saliou Ciss (Va­len­ci­ennes‚ France)‚ Fal­lou Di­agne (Werder Bre­men‚ Ger­many)‚ Lamine Gas­sama (Alanyas­por‚ Turkey)‚ Kali­dou Koulibaly (Napoli‚ Italy)‚ Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna‚ Italy)‚ Kara Mbodj (An­der­lecht‚ Bel­gium)‚ Ab­dal­lah Ndour (Rac­ing Stras­bourg‚ France)‚ Zargo Touré (Lori­ent‚ France) Mid­field­ers: Mo­hamed Di­amé (New­cas­tle United‚ Eng­land)‚ Pape Kouly Diop (Es­panyol‚ Spain)‚ Idrissa Gana Gu­eye (Ever­ton‚ Eng­land)‚ Cheikhou Kouy­até (West Ham United‚ Eng­land)‚ Pape Alioune Ndi­aye (Os­man­lispor‚ Turkey)‚ Cheikh N’Doye (Angers‚ France)‚ Younouss Sankharé (Lille‚ France) Strik­ers: Fa­mara Diéd­hiou (Angers‚ France)‚ Mame Bi­ram Diouf (Stoke City‚ Eng­land), Diao Baldé Keita (Lazio‚ Italy)‚ Moussa Konaté (Sion‚ Switzer­land)‚ Sa­dio Mané (Liver­pool‚ Eng­land)‚ Is­maïla Sarr (Metz‚ France).

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