When one speaks of football development it is impossible not to refer to German Football. Many would know the beautiful story of the development of German football and it is one that edifies us that there is no success without struggle.
From having a team that was dismissed at the Euro 2000 ,after finishing bottom of their group without being victorious in a single encounter (1 draw; 2 defeats), to having two teams in the UEFA Champions League Final in 2013 (Borrusia Dortmund and Bayern Munich).
And it does not end there, German Football’s biggest triumph has to be winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. What is the success behind German’s booming football? Well it began immediately after their dismissal at the Euro 2000.
They went back to the drawing board and identified all the key areas that prevented them from success, and so it began the solution was YOUTH FOOTBALL. German Football came up with strategies to invest on their youth by having academies across German nurturing their very own young talent.
Take a moment and think back to the 13th of July 2014; Do you remember that young talent by the name of Mario Gotze, who came on as a substitute and scored a spectacular goal that earned Germany their 4th FIFA World Cup title (becoming the first ever substitute to score a world cup winning goa,l as well as the youngest player to score in a world cup final at just 22 years old)?
This is the same young talent who came through the ranks of German Football development. Isn’t this heartwarming proof of what youth development in football can do? Now what can South Africa learn from German’s phenomenal development strategies?
I believe all this is possible but it all begins with youth development. Truth is we have started somewhere. A very good example would be Menzi Masuku a youngster who impressed for Orlando Pirates in the Multichoice Diski Challenge is one of the youngsters who had a major influence towards helping the South African U/23 side qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But the question is, is the Multicoice Diski Challenge alone enough to have a major impact on our football development in South Africa? As a fan of young talent I personally believe we still need more strategies that will improve the development of South African Football.
We have what is called the “Christmas Tournament” where soccer teams from rural areas compete against each other; this is where one witnesses some amazing football skills, from shibobos, tsamaya, and 360 degree turn to show me your number. So much talent is displayed in this tournament but the heartbreaking part is that there are never scouts to take note of the talent.
I believe somewhere out there in the streets there is a future Lucas Radebe (who also started in the streets of Soweto before becoming a football legend not only in South Africa but also in Europe), there is a future Benni McCarthy, Neil Tovey, Quinton Fortune, Jomo Sono, and many more. I'm not saying young footballers should emulate these legends but they can surely learn a lot from them and even do and achieve more than what they achieved during their days as footballers. Germany waited and worked on their development and it paid off, surely our time in South Africa is coming too.
I would love to hear your opinions on the development of South African Football and state other strategies you believe can be used to improve our football.
Do you think South Africa can learn from Germany?
*This article was written by a Soccer Laduma reader and reflects their opinion, not that of Soccer Laduma.