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Chief concern for soccer's billion-dollar saviour

By unknown | Feb 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

So now South African soccer's billion-dollar man, the national coach Carlos Parreira, is eventually in town.

So now South African soccer's billion-dollar man, the national coach Carlos Parreira, is eventually in town.

Judging from the huge applause he received from spectators at the game between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, we have been waiting for him for ages.

The money he is being paid does not seem to faze supporters. If he delivers, people seem to say it will be okay.

But Parreira must be worried sick after watching the game on Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs, one of South Africa's top teams, delivered what must be one of the worst displays yet by a professional team gunning for title honours. They were lethargic, listless and soulless.

We all know that the problems at Chiefs are mainly caused by the lack of hunger of the coach, Ernst Middendorp. He has managed to take a once-mighty team to the absolute doldrums.

How Kaizer Motaung continues to keep this man is a matter that will befuddle wise men and fans for decades to come.

Anyway, Parreira can't have been happy to see one of the top teams in the country perform so badly. He must be asking himself one question: where am I going to get talent for the national team if one of the top teams is so bad?

Saturday's match illustrates the point that we cannot rely only on Parreira's talent and skill if we are to give a decent showing in 2010 and in the run-up to that tournament. The task of changing the face of South African football must involve everyone.

The clubs, for example, need to up their game if they are to contribute meaningfully to the evolution of South Africa into a serious footballing nation, on the continent and in the world.

The kind of display Chiefs put up on Saturday is disgraceful by any standards. No wonder there have been so many instances of Kaizer Chiefs fans feeling short-changed.

Politically and organisationally our leaders need to start displaying some sort of striving for excellence. Appointing a man accused of drunken driving - and who ran the most incompetent government department - as head of security is not a great beginning.

But intensifying our efforts to build up youngsters to an international playing level is the biggest challenge.

Parreira is right not too put too much emphasis on Benni McCarthy, the South African striker who is doing so well in the English league. The man will be old by 2010.

What needs to happen now is to nurture those players who are now coming through the ranks and ensure they become the Didier Drogbas of tomorrow.

Too many people, including our soccer officials, are looking at Parreira as a messiah. He is not.

South African football needs to change its culture, its attitudes and its methods if we are to make something of the 2010 World Cup.

Welcome and good luck to Parreira. It will be a rough ride.


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