Sunday World - - World Of Sport - XO­LILE MT­S­HAZO

WHEN in Africa, do as the Africans do.

But not with the PSL. Safa has al­lowed a sit­u­a­tion where our foot­ball mim­ics the English League’s way of con­duct­ing busi­ness in is­sues such as the cal­en­dar year to the detri­ment of Bafana Bafana and the clubs com­pet­ing in CAF tour­na­ments.

The rules and reg­u­la­tions of the PSL ham­per Safa in the de­vel­op­ment of South African foot­ball.

For­get about Bafana’s woe­ful per­for­mance. That’s a dis­cus­sion for an­other day.

First, the quota of for­eign play­ers ply­ing their trade in the coun­try five at each of the 16 PSL clubs is too high con­sid­er­ing the size of the league.

There are 80 for­eign­ers in the PSL, and 48 of them can take to the field rep­re­sent­ing the 16 teams in eight matches.

Three play­ers from out­side our borders can be fielded at any given time in a match. That s overkill. It would be bet­ter to limit the num­ber to three sign­ings and two play­ers fielded dur­ing a match.

Sec­ond, the PSL cal­en­dar year must be in sync with the African Jan­uary to De­cem­ber cal­en­dar year.

Why must we fol­low the Euro­pean foot­ball cal­en­dar year of Au­gust to May?

When the African leagues are in full swing, the South African league is in re­cess.

Bafana play their qual­i­fiers for the World Cup against African teams. The Africa Cup of Na­tions and the African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship are African tour­na­ments. So why pre­tend to be in Europe?

Our clubs com­pete against fel­low Africans in CAF in­ter­club com­pe­ti­tions, with al­most all the play­ers based on the con­ti­nent.

The English na­tional team find them­selves in the same quag­mire as Bafana be­cause the English Pre­mier League is over­sub­scribed with for­eign­ers.

PSL clubs might ar­gue that they are a busi­ness, and that for­eign­ers bring in the money. Fair enough.

But since our foot­ball is gov­erned by Safa, is it not the mother body’s pre­rog­a­tive to de­velop foot­ball with the as­sis­tance of the pro­fes­sional league?

For­get about xeno­pho­bia. For­eign play­ers are ham­per­ing the de­vel­op­ment of young lo­cal play­ers, who have doors slammed in their faces at clubs in the elite league be­cause they have no ex­pe­ri­ence com­pared to the talent from out­side our borders.

There s no dis­put­ing that sev­eral for­eign­ers have daz­zled us and be­come house­hold names. We ap­pre­ci­ate their con­tri­bu­tion.

But at the rate we are go­ing, it will take years for the na­tional team to be at the top of African and in­ter­na­tional soc­cer.

And the rea­son is sim­ple: our pro league is over­flow­ing with for­eign­ers rather than lo­cal talent.

Al­though it’s not their fault, the truth is that they are deny­ing places to South African play­ers who could eas­ily qual­ify to play for Bafana.

Safa and the PSL need to ur­gently re­visit their rules, which make it easy for for­eign play­ers to flood the PSL.

Is the money fac­tor more im­por­tant than see­ing this coun­try’s young­sters com­pet­ing at the high­est level, in­clud­ing at the World Cup which we will be watch­ing sans Bafana?

If money is the most im­por­tant thing, why not in­crease the num­ber of clubs to 18 or 20 to make the league more com­pet­i­tive?

This could give Bafana coaches a wider pool of play­ers to se­lect from.

So strin­gent is en­try into the Euro­pean clubs that any player from out­side the EU needs to have played 75% of their com­pet­i­tive matches for their na­tional team and that na­tional team must be ranked in the top 70 in the world.

This is the way to go if we are to be­come world beat­ers.


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