Providing quality coaches should be Safa’s aim T
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