give high ball boot

Probably the most perplexing aspect of the PSL is the use of the high-ball approach (60 percent of direct passes and approximately 75percent of crosses), while the average height of South African players is around 1,68m.

Probably the most perplexing aspect of the PSL is the use of the high-ball approach (60 percent of direct passes and approximately 75percent of crosses), while the average height of South African players is around 1,68m.

The long and high ball mentality is simply not in the players' nature.

The discrepancy exposes the dangers of illogical coaching. What makes matters worse is that the South African media show a wide division of opinion on the style of play.

There is an influential group of media leaders, producers, reporters and commentators who, unfortunately, persist in promoting the kind of rigid and stereotyped European football that has no future in Africa, especially within the South African context.

This harmful situation partially explains why many players, coaches and supporters express confusing views about the importance of playing styles.

Consequently, the recent call made by Konti Kubheka, the head of coaching education at Safa, to establish conceptual unity between coaches, particularly at the level of national representation, remains unachievable.

Before this vital requirement can be implemented there must be a prompt move to unify coaching philosophy in South Africa. Then the rest will follow.

England is faced with an identical problem - disorder in the coaching concepts. Trevor Brooking, the brain behind the reforms in technical development envisaged by the English FA, indicates that a new competitive style of football is imperative for the future of the game in England.

His highly regarded formula to achieve this objective requires a synergy between a new type of coach and an equally advanced concept of player development. Seemingly, he has been challenged and inspired by the harmful division of coaching concepts presently seen in the English Premiership.

Brooking wants the superior brand of football displayed by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and other "imports" from the leading English clubs - Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea - to become the guideline for immediate changes.

The "type" of coaching leading these top clubs to success is provided by non-English technicians, who have assembled winning combinations of skilful players representing the most advanced style displayed by the Argentinians, Brazilians, Italians and French, among other world leading representatives.

Brooking wisely concludes: "We [English football] need sublime skills, creativity, flair, risk and competitive dynamics to be honed under the nurturing scan of technically superior youth coaches. And then, as importantly, to prepare professional coaches to work with the same philosophy."

Is the leadership of South African football aware of the immense significance of Brooking's technical revolution?

A long overdue campaign to educate the stakeholders needs to address the obstacles that prevent the development of an internationally competitive national identity of the local style.

Some of those are:

l Introduce strict criteria to restrain alien coaching and influences from exposure and promotion by the media that could have a harmful, antagonising effect in the South African football context;

l Encourage sponsors to support projects aimed at development and consolidation of South African specificity in football;

l Assistance from the government in introducing legislation to prevent any foreign programme (academies and football schools) based on contrasting football ideology or style from operating in South Africa; and

l Establish research programmes to continuously generate relevant information needed to reinforce specific values and components of South African style.

In producing high-level performances the national interest must not be ignored whenever the issue of playing style is address.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of football followers in the country identify themselves with a particular way the game is played as a true reflection of genetic nature, traditions and mentality of the people shows the magnitude of mentality in football.

For example, any attempt by the football and media partisans of old stereotyped European style to convince South African fans that the game should be played with direct, long balls and extreme physical aggression, would backfire. The effect would be, beside miserable performances, even smaller crowds at already almost empty stadiums.

Considering the conflicting media opinions and a major contrasting coaching diversity mirrored in local football, the challenge to change what is wrong in the current football mentality appears difficult.

The good news is that there are excellent solutions immediately available. The only thing needed now is to find knowledgeable, courageous and committed people to do it.

lThis was the final article on reflections by Ted Dumitru. Your feedback will be welcomed by sending e-mails to and copy