Egos getting in the way of real development
We will never get it right.
We will never get it right.
Not at this rate, anyway!
There has been too much talk about the development of football in South Africa.
And everybody has thrown in their two cents worth.
If recent tournaments and competitions for the different age groups are anything to go by, some elements within the game are bent on destroying any efforts aimed at addressing anomalies that continue to haunt this initiative.
And, unfortunately, they are the people who matter most.
Coaches and club chairmen or owners are the real problem in the development of football.
Why, you may ask.
Because of their win-at-all-costs attitude. That's why.
Yours truly just came back from the Manchester United Premier Cup 2008 world finals in Carrington.
What one saw there was unbelievable!
But, it then made sense.
Most of the players that looked way over the age of 15 meant for the event were from the so-called Third World.
The boys from South America, especially Brazil's Fluminense, and a Ghanaian school's academy team, Right to Dream, could put to shame our own Under-23 team in physical build.
Our own SuperSport United's Under-15 side, which had caused an age cheating storm during the local qualifiers in Klipspruit a month before, looked like Under-12s there.
One wondered what could have happened had Mato Madlala's Lamontville Golden Arrows won the South African version and went to Manchester to represent the country.
She would have played only the first 10 minutes of the tourney and called it quits.
The junior Matsatsantsa couldn't score a goal in open play in the group stages, ala Bafana Bafana at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
It was clear from the event that this is a worldwide phenomenon.
To some, cheating is a way out of poverty.
And, looking at the number of so-called super players from these countries playing in the rich leagues of the world, one can unlock what is really happening behind the scenes.
And, throw in a parent or two who will vouch for their offspring then the matters is as good as closed.
This past weekend we witnessed another age group competition that also left more questions than answers.
What is football development?
You may think you know.
You have just ventured an answer, haven't you?
When former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira came to these shores and decried our perceived lack of development leagues or structures everybody who was listening called out "hallelujah!"
A messiah had been found.
Hogwash, said me.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. We had the structures.
We were just destroying them. As we are still doing.
The SuperSport Under-19 tournament held in Soweto is one clear example.
What the hell were players like Thulani Serero and Alexander Cole doing there?
They both play for Ajax Cape Town.
There were also about four others from eventual champions Platinum Stars, we are told.
Their ages allow them to fit into the event like gloves.
But are they development players?
They are not, as they have shown with their progress and promotion to their respective senior teams in the pro ranks.
Some are even in the Amajita or national Under-23 ranks.
But, they are still being played in a developmental tournament.
They shouldn't be allowed to do that as they have outgrown that division or age group.
Their progress through the ranks should make way for another aspiring player. It's as simple as that.
That is where curriculum vitae and egos come in.
The coach enhances his CV for future job chances by playing overage or professional players in these events because they want to look good before their bosses.
It should be remembered that most of them are former players who had not looked at life after their playing days and are now trying to make a living through coaching.
The only way to make a living in this game as a coach is by winning. If not, you are history.
The chairman or owner, on the other hand, wants those bragging rights.