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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