Parreira hails plan

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has hailed the eThekwini municipality and Safa eThekwini region for coming up with what he described as "one the best football developmental projects in the country".

Speaking in Durban this week during the launch of Safa/eThekwini Youth Football Development Programme, Parreira said it will go a long way in producing quality players for all the national teams.

"Brazil is today known as the soccer powerhouse because it has put a lot of emphasis on youth football development. Each year, it produces 1 500 players.

"We cannot achieve our goal as a nation and a country if we don't have a strong foundation, and I think this is the good start.

"I would like to encourage other provinces to adopt this initiative," he said.

Parreira expressed concern over South African's latest Fifa ranking, saying with all the facilities the country has, it does not belong in the position it is occupying. "It is bad that this country is ranked number 80 in the world and 14 in Africa.

"This is not our position, we don't belong there with the facilities that we have. Lets look at the development very seriously," said Parreira.

Vusi Mazibuko, deputy head of sports and recreation in eThekwini municipality, said the program will focus mainly on boys under 15, U-17 boys and girls, and U-19 boys.

He said it will start on February 23 with the selection of players from the community and over 500 football clubs affiliated to Safa.