Our U23 team have once again failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Olympic Games after holding the hosts, Brazil, to a goalless draw in their opening fixture. Some say it was a case of history repeating itself.
You’ll remember, back in 2000, we beat Brazil 3-1 and then lost 2-1 to both Slovakia and Japan.
This time around, we drew 0-0 against Brazil, lost 0-1 to Denmark and drew 1-1 with Iraq.
We've been going around the circles for far too long, and I think the time to up our game is now. The current U23 side is expected to be Bafana Bafana next year, although some of them will vanish into thin air. But that is just part of the problem we have.
Having watched all three of our games, one could easily notice that all the teams we played were tactically superior to our boys. We cannot blame our guys, they gave their all, but when an opponent is tactically superior, you will suffer. This all boils down to two facts. First, in RSA, we tend to give our legends, some of whom don’t even have coaching licences, to coach our junior teams. That, on its own, is a problem. Secondly, we do not give our development the attention it deserves. There has to be football development from schools if we are to get this right.
We need to stop promoting mediocrity. Every time we lose against big football nations such as Brazil, everyone raves about how well we played. This has to stop, and if we want the recognition I think we deserve, we need to start taking football development seriously!
What are your thoughts on football development in SA?