‘When are you going to say, PSL, wake up because you are killing us?’: Safa TD Steenbok

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Safa technical director Walter Steenbok during a press conference at Safa House.
Safa technical director Walter Steenbok during a press conference at Safa House.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

South African Football Association (Safa) technical director Walter Steenbok is pushing ahead with radical coaching reforms that may leave some coaches ineligible to work in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the National First Division (NFD). 

Steenbok said coaches would be required to have a Confederation of African Football (Caf) A licence to be eligible to coach in the PSL and B licence to coach in the NFD. 

Steenbok said the move was part of compliance with the Caf licensing regulations, and he doesn’t expect any pushback from the PSL. However, the technical director might be headed for a clash of wills with the league, which historically has had a poor relationship with Safa and been reluctant to bend to the rulings of the mother body.

“When you have a lot of teams in the PSL not employing qualified coaches, it talks to our members because I have presented before that we have 459 Caf A licence holders in South Africa,” Steenbok said. 

“So we are not short of numbers, but we have to enforce [the rules] because it is our [Safa’s] territory and we must implement. If you don’t implement you are going to have people asking who is in charge.” 

Steenbok said he would push for the Safa congress on Sunday to adopt this as a resolution so the association can implement it. 

“[The media] say we don’t have players in the top five European leagues, but who is coaching these players in South Africa? 

“You have Musa Nyatama there as a coach and he has just qualified with a Safa C licence, or Morgan Mammila — sorry to mention names — as a technical director [both at Swallows FC]. 

“It means the players are on their own and we’re irresponsible. You go to Golden Arrows and the two coaches [Mabhuti Khenyeza and Vusumuzi Vilakazi] don’t have anything.

“As much as you want to put the blame on the association, when are you going to make the right noises and say, ‘PSL, wake up because you are killing us?’” 

Steenbok said rules should be stricter for foreign coaches who want to work in South Africa. 

“If you are an international coach and you don’t have 12 to 15 years’ [experience] or you have never won a cup in South Africa for five years, why are you here?

Steenbok said he expected co-operation from the PSL if Safa decided to implement such rules. 

“There is no need for pushback because we are just implementing Caf club licensing [rules]. It has been us who have not implemented it. It must never be seen as a fight between Safa and PSL. 

“It is us doing what is right for the future of South African football because you will admit that in the last club rankings we saw only Mamelodi Sundowns was ranked a bit higher as compared to other leagues. 

“There is a report that said Tanzanian teams [Simba and Yanga] are ahead of our teams and that means their league is ahead of our league. That says there are a lot of things that need to change. 

“Coaching is but one of the things we really need to get right because we can’t be training one of our coaches and we can’t find them space [to work] in our premier league. 

“I hope this will be in effect from next season — let’s wait for our congress on Sunday and see what is going to be the take from there.



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