'groom or be doomed'

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The success of every Premiership club lies in the establishment of a solid development programme, says Premier Soccer League executive member Anastasia Tsichlas.

Addressing the monthly Sowetan Extra Time forum in Rosebank on Friday, Tsichlas urged all clubs to take a leaf from Ajax Cape Town's book.

"Look at Ajax, they have assembled a team of young players from the development programme and deserve to be number one.

"Development is very important. I remember when I was still in charge at [Mamelodi] Sundowns, almost all the players came from development. Players such as Mambush [Daniel Mudau] and Themba Mnguni. There was no Reserve League, so we lent some of them to clubs like Ratanang Maholosiane."

The other players who came through the Sundowns development structures include Michael Shata, Joel "Apla" Magolego and Happy Nkadimeng.

Tsichlas said: "It is disappointing that there are so few clubs with sound development structures. They are busy spending millions buying big- name players.

"If you have a big squad of 42 players, all of them big names, you have a problem in that you can only use between 18 to 22 players. What about the rest of the players?

"It is a big problem because even the national coach won't see them. Their chances of being selected for the national teams are zero. This is happening with a lot of clubs."

Moving on, she said Safa'swomen's subcommittee was working hard to introduce soccer for girls at schools.

"We want to see [women's] football being played regularly at school level. I have spoken to the minister [of sport, Makhenkesi Stofile] about our plan.

"In the United States it took them 20 years for the women's football team to be number one in the world. The Americans play football at school up to grade 8.

"There is no way we will produce good players if women's football is not played at school. It is sad that rugby and cricket are the major sports at schools."

About the lack of sponsorship for women's soccer in South Africa, Tsichlas said they were working hard to convince the corporate world to assist them.

"We are laying a solid foundation for the Under-17s and Under-20s to start our campaign of qualifying for the first World Cup for Banyana Banyana."

Tsichlas said plans were still on track to start a professional women's soccer league, adding that they were still in a talks with Safa chief executive Raymond Hack.