In this week’s SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo spoke out about development in South Africa and local clubs giving their players an opportunity to showcase their talents in high profile matches as he singled out the Kaizer Chiefs duo of Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Happy Mashiane who recently featured in the Soweto derby match against Orlando Pirates.
Khumalo went on to talk about the importance of throwing young players into the deep end.
“That’s why I was happy to see these youngsters starting for Chiefs, although some may have thought it was a risky situation since it was a derby. Having one of the development products introduced to his first derby was heart-warming because, even though Happy didn’t finish the game, he’s grown and developed mentally and, hopefully, will become one of the big names in South African football in future. I hope and wish that he will sustain his good performance at Chiefs. When you’re talking development, within each building block an extensive curriculum is designed to focus on the necessary skills set. Within each block, it is important to ensure that the player acquires the needed skills in order to support and develop his game, according to the curriculum. These are basics that a player will need to go through before he graduates to the senior team so that they are consistent on both fundamental and advanced performance levels.
“When you talk about those blocks, they enhance the capacity and capability of an individual to uphold any sort of pressure. When it comes to tactics, that player has to be able to be part of the team and not isolate himself. This is how you measure a player’s development and that also tells you whether the player will be able to perform, follow instructions and deliver for the team, as it is about the group effort. Remember, you’re talking about the team, group of players and an individual, so a player has to deliver on all three fronts. That will inspire him to excel on the field and give him confidence that he’s ticked all the boxes.
“What’s missing in the development stages, let’s say your academy, is a format designed for players to understand what is needed from them. For example, if a player is a winger, he needs to know what his team’s winger is expected to do when he’s in his own half and when he is in the last third. He can’t be the same player. Take Mashiane for example – if the senior team was playing differently to the development teams, he would struggle to fit in because he would have to be taught from scratch. There has to be a continuity, which is a repetition, that will enhance the player’s career and ensure that they are able to deliver. That’s why academies are very important in a player’s development because they prepare for the future. When the player gets to the senior team, it has to be a continuation from their development days so that players don’t find themselves confused. That’s what sets some of the players back because they get a rude awakening when they get promoted to the senior team, as they operate completely differently to their junior teams.”
‘16v’ went on to talk about national U20 head coach, Thabo Senong and the work that he has been able to do with the players in his squad. To read the full SportPesa Clubhouse column, check out this week’s Soccer Laduma, issue 1110.