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Booth – 'Most Clubs Don't Even Waste Time With Upper-Class Children'

Matthew Booth has answered the rest of your questions, and today he discusses his favourite PSL players, why the Western Cape produces good footballers, who his favourite players in his playing days were, what is wrong with Bafana Bafana, and what it was like being a white footballer in South Africa.

Kagiso Walle Buccaneer: Who is your favorite current player in the PSL?

MB: Can I pick three? Three-way tie between (Keagan) Dolly, (Khama) Billiat and (Thulani) Hlatshwayo.

Allen Kaboyellow: We cannot run away from the fact that you are a Western Cape product. Our exports are mainly from the WC, the likes of you, Benni McCarthy, and many more; even currently the development in the WC is just unexplainable. Bafana Bafana is dominated by Gauteng-based footballers, whereas there is talent in the WC. What advice would you give other provinces in terms of development structures?

MB: That is a difficult question to answer! How much time do we have? I don't think it is a race thing but purely an economic situation, where we find in the Western Cape that there is no club capable of holding on to players due to a lack of financial clout and backing, and therefore most players (myself included) looked to go to Gauteng or overseas as an option to make better money. The Mayambelas, Fortunes and McCarthys of this world perhaps happened to have a sturdier personality trait that allowed them to get out of their comfort zone and move on to a greater challenge.

Sphozalava: Who was your favourite player, on and off the field, during your playing days?

MB: I never had an idol per se, but I watched Lucas Radebe, Neil Tovey and Ronnie Zondi intently and tried to adapt my game so as to steal elements of their game.

Thimboro: Mr Booth! Firstly, thanks for sharing your talent with us as football lovers. How do you see the future of Bafana Bafana in years to come? Will they finally become a strong side and be recognised and be able to compete?

MB: We have the talent, undoubtedly. We have to overhaul amateur football completely and rid it of politics, and get people involved who have the game at heart. Only then can our true potential be realised. We have the ability and I remain positive, but we are good talkers and have to start implementing.

Nikolaos Kirkinis: Was there anything particularly challenging about being a white footballer in South Africa? Why is it such a rare thing, and how do we change it?

MB: Not at all! I have always been proud of being involved in an industry that was always progressive when it came to "colour". Way back in the dark days of apartheid, officials attempted the first multi-racial league and I have found that the demographics of our league has always reflected society. Again, it is not a race issue but an economic one as the better-off kids, of all colour, are impatient with football. If it is not organised properly or if training gets too hard for them, they will stay at home playing Xbox or start playing another sport. Whereas a kid who is poor sometimes doesn't have a choice and will battle on with football, desperate to make it work. Most clubs around the world don't waste time with middle-class and upper-class children as they are considered "soft", while lower LSM have the hunger and desire!

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