Pro­vid­ing qual­ity coaches should be Safa’s aim T

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT 14 -

he Uefa Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter­fi­nals held this week were full of ex­cite­ment. Great text­book foot­ball was the or­der of the day de­spite con­tro­ver­sies at­trib­uted to poor or er­ratic ref­er­ee­ing.

Beaten by Real Madrid, Bay­ern Mu­nich as would be ex­pected cried foul for what they de­scribed as the ref­eree’s hor­ri­ble han­dling of the game, while Barcelona’s spir­ited 90-minute chase for the ti­tle came to naught. Their ef­forts to re­verse the 3­0 deficit in­flicted on them by Ju­ven­tus last week were thwarted.

Of the ag­gre­gate 6-3 loss to Real Madrid, head coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “I think we de­served more. There are de­ci­sions that pe­nalised us a lot. The red card for Ar­turo was not a card and then the two goals from Cris­tiano were off­side.”

In his lamen­ta­tion, Ancelotti cau­tioned that “in a quar­ter­fi­nal you have to have a bet­ter ref­eree”. That is telling – a sorry in­dict­ment on the qual­ity of ref­er­ee­ing, some­thing foot­ball fans and man­agers peren­ni­ally com­plain about.

While the losers wailed and shed tears, call­ing for the in­tro­duc­tion of video tech­nol­ogy to min­imise poor ref­eree de­ci­sions, the win­ners, Real Madrid, could not be both­ered about ex­otic de­bates around tech­no­log­i­cal niceties. They were sim­ply con­tent with their vic­tory and look for­ward to their next en­counter.

That aside, one has to shower ac­co­lades on the de­fen­sively tough-as-nails Ju­ven­tus whose last week’s first leg 3­0 lead was solidly de­fended in the midst of Barcelona’s per­sis­tent on­slaught on Wed­nes­day night.

Even with the mas­sive ball pos­ses­sion Barca en­joyed turned out not to be good enough to in­tim­i­date Ju­ven­tus into sub­mis­sion. Their welloiled and sin­gle-minded de­fence was rock-solid and im­pen­e­tra­ble.

We as South Africans can learn from these en­coun­ters. Sta­di­ums overseas are al­ways packed and with that comes great ex­cite­ment. Peo­ple travel long dis­tances will­ing to watch their favourite teams.

The game of foot­ball has be­come very tech­ni­cal so there should be no room for lag­gards and un­skilled peo­ple mas­querad­ing as coaches.

The South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and al­lied as­so­ci­a­tions should in­vest time and money in pro­duc­ing top-class coaches.

They must work to pro­mote lo­cal foot­ball, cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary in­cen­tives. If we al­low the

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