Bad performances of Under-23 national team distress Safa

CLUB CONCERN: Nakedi Lekota, Safa national executive committee member, is convening an urgent meeting. Pic. Ramatsiyi Moholoa. 18/06/07. © Sowetan.
CLUB CONCERN: Nakedi Lekota, Safa national executive committee member, is convening an urgent meeting. Pic. Ramatsiyi Moholoa. 18/06/07. © Sowetan.

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The South African Football Association youth affairs committee are concerned about the junior national teams' failure to impress in global competitions.

As a result, the committee is planning to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the matter, which is also a cause for concern for many South Africans.

Nakedi Lekota, the committee's convenor, said there was an urgent need for them to meet and do a review of their programmes.

This comes hardly a week after the Under-23 national side bombed out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"As things stand, it is clear that there is something that is not going right somewhere, and it is our responsibility to start dealing with it," said Lekota.

"We also need to have a process of monitoring the progress of all the youngsters. Most of the boys disappear after almost a year or two in the junior national teams.

"The other problem is that some of the clubs are a bit unfair. They sign youngsters after seeing them at the junior national teams, then relegate them to the bench. Clubs also tend to refuse releasing them to clubs that will utilise their services regularly."

Lekota said the Safa youth affairs committee should also work closely with schools and help establish competitions that would keep them busy.

"There is an abundance of talent at schools, but most of the youngsters do not play soccer after school. We need to create a platform for them to play for clubs in their areas.

"In the past, professional clubs used to use school soccer competitions to search for new talent with the schools' games attracting thousands of spectators.

"Big names like Jomo Sono, Marks Maponyane, James "Killer" Mkhwanazi, Harris Choeu and many others were identified at school soccer games."

X