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My Plea To SAFA’s President!

Last Saturday marked SAFA president, Danny Jordaan’s first anniversary as the man in charge of South African football since his appointment at the organisation’s elective congress in Midrand, Johannesburg, on 28 September 2013. 
 
Jordaan’s election campaign leading up to the election was mainly dominated by his consistent utterances about ‘rebuilding South African football from grassroots level’. This was in an effort to restore SAFA’s image and regain public trust that those entrusted with our country’s football were, in fact, on the ball, excuse the pun. A year later, it is encouraging to see the number of games being played by our junior national teams, both male and female, since the new regime took over has increased dramatically. The resurgence of our senior national teams has also become a much-appreciated breath of fresh air, so thank you Mr Jordaan and SAFA for a job well done! It is not every day that one finds anything positive to write home about regarding the mother body, as the number of own goals they’ve conceded over the last decade or so are well-documented. However, credit must be given where it is due.
 
The appointment of Shakes Mashaba as the Bafana coach ushered in a new dawn in our beautiful game, and the team’s performances since the former Orlando Pirates team manager took over are there for all to see. Just like his employers, Mashaba has made some “unpopular” decisions in his team selections, but he remains resolute. People made noise about his selection even before his team took to the field for the first time, but the results have left the pessimists with nothing but a lot of eggs on their faces. At the rate Mashaba is going, it looks like those who are waiting for his failure have a long wait ahead of them. 
 
One of the best things to ever happen to our football was the appointment of someone with the development of the game at heart. We have seen a number of youngsters in Mashaba’s squads, which augurs well for the future of our national team. We have missed too many opportunities in the past where young players fell through the cracks and disappeared into the system because there was lack of vision and preparation for the future. 
 
Our national U17 team’s qualification for the CAF U17 championships to be held in Niger next year under the guidance of Molefi Ntseki couldn’t have come at a better time. A top four finish will secure a place in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile. Congratulations Amajimbos and continue to make us proud! 
 
It certainly feels great to be a South African football supporter and it looks like the good old days could be on the way back! There is no reason why our national teams do not dominate on the continent. 
 
As long as we have the right people in charge of our game, our teams will be back where they belong – right up there among the best! 
 
It is also no coincidence that the two coaches who are achieving success, both Ntseki and Mashaba, are locals who have been around the block in the local game for years. So thank you once again SAFA for keeping it local… however, it doesn’t end there, as this is only the beginning. 
 
To Mr Jordaan, as someone involved in football, you obviously know that you are only as good as your last game. Looking forward, may I make one request? Can you please rid our football of mediocre, fly-by-night foreign coaches who are destroying our game? Can SAFA run the rule over who comes to coach in this country? There’s no reason for us to accept or employ these coaches who bring nothing but confusion to our game. These coaches undo everything we have achieved so far by turning our players into robots. They dictate almost everything the players do on the field, effectively destroying their individual brilliance. Day in and day out we complain about poor attendance figures at our matches, but have we done anything about the destructive foreign influence in our game? We entertain second rate foreign coaches, coaches who can’t even find jobs in their own countries, and give them carte blanche here. They destroy one team and leave, only for the next team to recycle them, blindly hoping for a miracle. Our players have been confused enough by contrasting coaching ideologies imposed on them by coaches who can’t get their points across. 
 
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against high-quality foreign coaches, in fact we need them, but it is mediocrity that I have a problem with. Without mentioning names, some foreign coaches have been excellent but the majority have been destructive to our game. 
 
I hope, Mr Jordaan, that you and your office plan to do something, and perhaps that’s where the appointment of a national technical director will come in handy, but if nothing is done then all the hard work you’ve put in will go straight down the drain. Coaching is a vital element of football, perhaps the most vital, and as long as we entertain mediocre coaches, we are bound to produce only mediocrity. 
 
Cheers
 
VJ
 
 

It Is Not Bragging If You Can Back It Up!

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