The South African Football Association (SAFA) briefed the Committee on its vision for the future of South African football, including soccer development programmes that would be implemented post-2010. The presentation addressed problems and solutions in regard to the National Team, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and First Division, amateur football, youth and school football, and grassroots development. SAFA agreed that there were problems at national team level with the release of players, and with their development but SAFA was addressing the issues. SAFA wished the coaches at Junior and National teams to be South Africans. The same applied to first division coaches and assistant coaches, who should hold high qualifications. It recommended that not more than three foreign players be allowed to play in the PSL, that teams should not register more than 23 players, and a minimum number of games must be played by junior players. There was a problem with remuneration and placements of black coaches. SAFA identified that many female soccer players were leaving South Africa to play overseas and were represented by Nigerian agents. At amateur level, SAFA also wished to have appropriately qualified, South African coaches, who should be remunerated. In order to promote youth and school development, football schools should be identified and coaches employed there, with school leagues rather than school tournaments being set up.
All schools should be involved in grassroots football, and qualified coaches should be trained to run this programme. SAFA emphasised the need for specialised training that took account of the demands of the modern game, and in particular for development of strikers. It was important that information between all coaches in the PSL should be shared. It was hoped to set up a Technical Directorate within SAFA and to hold a symposium for coaches, as well as to structure the league. There would shortly be a review of SAFA’s constitution. The amount of money available was not commensurate with the quality of its football.
Members felt that the Sports Act should be reinstated, and that there should be a clear programme to move forward, including remuneration of coaches, limitations on the numbers of foreign players, sound structures at the lower level, and a focus on youth structures. Members agreed that coaches, including foreign coaches, should be held to account for poor results, and also agreed that there was a need to promote women’s football, with every PSL team also having a women’s team. They commented that there was a need for school children to be released by their schools to play, asked how sports policy was being implemented, and whether coaches were unionised. Members were concerned at so much power being concentrated in clubs or individuals, and felt that the contracts of South African players should provide that they be released by their clubs for national games.
Mr Ted Dumitru, Coach of Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club urged that the problems facing South African football should be addressed as soon as possible, in order that South Africa could produce quality players. He said that the model for South African football was based on an English model, but that its own individual model was needed, with expertise from all quarters being drawn together. Role models must be found in South African soccer players. Members agreed that South Africa should develop its own style of football, based on best practice, and asked SAFA if it was, firstly, looking at what had transpired in the 2010 World Cup, and secondly if input from Mr Dumitru would be taken forward. SAFA suggested that a workshop would be useful. The Chairperson stressed that qualifications of coaches should be specified in legislation and that the same standards should be implemented at all levels of the game.
Soccer Development Programmes post-2010: South African Football Association briefing
Chairperson’s Opening remarks
The Chairperson said that coaches from the South African Football Association (SAFA) would brief the Committee on soccer development programmes post-2010. However, he noted that he would also be looking to receive information on other issues. He wished, firstly, to have an answer as to why the strikers were not scoring enough goals. Secondly, he enquired as to the importance of foreign players to the National team. Thirdly, he wished to know at what levels were the coaches in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Fourthly, he asked what was being done for the development of coaches and players, especially in regard to school development, and against what standards this development would be measured. Finally, he asked for an indication of the trends identified from the 2010 World Cup, and what lessons could be learned, so that South Africa could qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Chairperson also commented on the fact that not all 18 teams in the PSL had black Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). The Chairperson also wanted to know how coaches in the PSL were employed and remunerated.
South African Football Association (SAFA) briefing
Mr Pitso Mosimane, Head Coach: South Africa, South African Football Association, said that the South African Football Association (SAFA) saw this meeting as an opportunity to explain what its plans were for the further development of soccer in South Africa, after the 2010 World Cup. Its presentation would cover five areas: being the National Team; PSL and First Division; Amateur Football; Youth and School and Grassroots development.
Addressing the National Team, Mr Mosimane said that there was a problem with the release of players. He also mentioned that there were deficiencies in the development of players, and that SAFA was also in the process of drawing up a policy for Junior and National teams on the release of players. SAFA also wanted the Junior and National Team coaches to be South Africans.
In regard to the PSL and First Division, SAFA would prefer that coaches in these divisions carry the highest qualifications. It felt that the First Division must be coached by South Africans, and that the assistant coaches must also be South African. All PSL and First Division teams must have at least three development teams. Not more than three foreign players should be allowed to play in the PSL. Teams must also not register more than 23 players. Players who had represented their countries must not be given permanent citizenship status. It finally recommended that junior players from South Africa who played in the PSL must have played at least 25% of the matches in the season. This was to ensure that they also had the opportunity to play, and not simply to sit on the benches.
Mr Steve Komphela, Head Coach: Under-23 team, SAFA, mentioned that black coaches were not remunerated appropriately and that they were given jobs with low profile teams.
Mr Augustine Makalakalane, Head Coach: South African Women’s Football, mentioned that many girls who played football were leaving South Africa to play overseas, and that most of them were represented by agents from Nigeria and not South Africa.
In regard to amateur football, SAFA reported that it would like the coaches at this level to be South African and that all coaches at this level must have the appropriate qualifications. Many of the coaches at this level currently did not have any qualifications and they were not remunerated.
In regard to Youth and School development, SAFA said that there was a need to identify football schools. Coaches who had the right qualifications must be employed at this level. In addition, it was felt that SAFA should concentrate on having a school league as opposed to school tournaments. A league structure for all age groups should be set up, to avoid cheating.
In regard to the development of grassroots football, SAFA indicated that ideally all schools should be involved in grassroots football and that qualified coaches must be trained to run this programme.
Mr Serame Letsoaka, Technical Director, SAFA, emphasised that the strikers playing in the PSL needed to have specialised training and that in the long-term there should be a greater development of this training and position at the grassroots level. He also mentioned that on his visit to Uruguay he had noticed that each public park had goalposts with nets, and that in Brazil there were goal posts set up on every beach. In the medium-term, he said that development of strikers should take place at the youth level, and that individual attention should be given to strikers so that they could become better players.
Mr Mosimane mentioned that he had not yet shared with the Committee the information that he had garnered from the former coach of Bafana Bafana, Mr Carlos Alberto Perreira. He emphasised the importance of sharing information between the coaches in the PSL, saying that this would enable the PSL to become a more competitive league and would help players to be better developed and prepared.
Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Vice President, SAFA, mentioned that a Technical Directorate should be set up at SAFA’s national office and that a symposium for coaches should be held as soon as possible. He also mentioned that the league should be properly structured so that if players needed to prepare for an upcoming international fixture they would have enough time to do so and perform optimally. He also noted that a review of SAFA’s constitution would be undertaken shortly so that any loopholes could be fixed in preparation for the new season. South Africa was in the top six in terms of money, but not in terms of quality football. This should not be the case. A lekogtla to discuss issues would also take place in the near future.
Mr B Kora (ANC) said that the Sports Act must be reinstituted and that SAFA should have a clear programme on the way forward for football in South Africa. He also mentioned that there was a need to establish a good foundation for the remuneration of coaches.
Mr Kora felt that having three foreign players in a PSL team was too many.
Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) commented that at SAFA it seemed that “the tail was wagging the dog”. He noted that in order for the national coach to be successful, there must be sound structures in place at the lower levels. SAFA’s wish list and ideas should be put in place as soon as possible. Many foreign coaches were actually brought in by club owners and not by the team managers themselves. He noted that in the United States of America (USA) youth structures were in place, which resulted in USA becoming a force on the international football scene.
Ms T Sunduza (ANC) asked why SAFA undermined the power that it had. She said that SAFA must act strongly. The state of South African football was not looking good. Coaches did not seem to be interested in long-term goals. She suggested that foreign coaches must be brought to account for poor results. She asked why there was a need for foreign coaches.
Ms Sunduza felt that every team in the PSL must also have a women’s team. She commented that young black children playing football at school level were not released by their respective schools, but she had seen young white children going overseas to play and was concerned about this. She asked how football could be developed in South Africa.
Mr L Suka (ANC) commented that he did not want this meeting to become a talk shop. He added that he would have liked to have seen the Director-General of the Department of Sports and Recreation, and the Director of the provincial Sports Department at this meeting.
Mr Suka asked how the sports policy was currently being implemented, and whether there was an integrated approach by the Social Cluster. He also felt that there were too few teams in the PSL and a few more were needed. He said that he had questions around the school curriculum that was adversely affected. Finally, he enquired whether the coaches in the PSL had a union.
The Chairperson asked what national legislation said with regard to coaches being members of a union.
Mr J van der Linde (DA) commented that it was extremely important that SAFA must decide where it wanted to take South African soccer. He mentioned that the English football team had too many foreign-based players, which was the reason that side had performed dismally in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He enquired what the implications of the policies would be. He questioned whether it was right that clubs owned by individuals had so much power, especially when considering that there were players who can play football residing in South African cities. He was also concerned about the selling of South African players overseas. He felt strongly that SAFA must decide on the contract of these players, and put conditions into the contracts to the effect that if a South African player who was based overseas had a national game to play, then that player must be released immediately. He thought that there was enough money in South African football.
The Chairperson commented that players could be called at any given time to represent South Africa and that they have to be released by their respective clubs. He agreed with several of the points made by Mr van der Linde. He added that there should be one standard for measuring coaches.
Mr MacKenzie commented that the English Football Association had changed its policies to give the English players more opportunities. There was support for the limit of overseas players. He said that South African youngsters must be given more opportunities to play.
Chief Nonkonyana mentioned that in the past, football in South Africa was divided. He reiterated that there would shortly be a review of the constitution of the Association. He agreed with Mr van der Linde on the issue of the power of the club owners, and said that it was a matter of principle. He was also in agreement with Ms Sunduza’s remarks about the women’s teams and the fact that foreign coaches must be held accountable for poor performances.
Chief Nonkonyana said that football coaches were also associate members and would be united. SAFA did not “own” football in South Africa, but instead football belonged to all the people in South Africa.
Ms T Sunduza reiterated that she felt strongly that women’s football must be developed and was positive that it will happen.
Chief Nonkonyana said that ideally all clubs in the PSL should be licensed. He added that he had also taken heed of all the points mentioned in the meeting.
Mr Letsoaka suggested that all club bosses should be called to Parliament.
Football Models: Mr Ted Dumitru submission
Mr Ted Dumitru, Coach, Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club, made a submission in which he said that he felt strongly that the problems facing South African football should be addressed as soon as possible. South Africa’s performance would improve greatly if quality players were produced.
He noted that the model for South African football was picked from an English model. However, South African football had to have its own model. He noted that, in the modern game, the development of players was very sophisticated and scientific, but it was also necessary, when developing players, to look at the culture of the players. The correct expertise was also necessary in the modern game of football. Currently, there was expertise at SAFA, and at PSL, but ideally such expertise should not be separated. With regard to competitions, SAFA needed to establish a National Competition Committee.
He suggested that there was a need for immediate intervention on how to develop players in South Africa. South African girls and boys did not have role models in South Africa any longer, but were instead looking to players from England, Germany and Spain. This was wrong. The South African Broadcasting Corporation should show footage of South Africa’s football legends, to encourage young players in South Africa.
Mr Suka thought there was a need for self–introspection. South Africa must develop its own style of football. The governing body should implement best practice when developing football in South Africa. He asked when last the documentation was reviewed, and also whether there was some database that could be used to track coaches and players from the past. He thanked Mr Dumitru for his useful submission.
Mr Kora thanked Mr Ted Dumitru. He enquired of SAFA whether there was somebody looking at what had transpired in the 2010 World Cup. He also mentioned that the time was now right for everybody to assist Mr Pitso Mosimane, and to take football forward in South Africa.
Mr Mosimane said that there was a lot of input from Mr Ted Dumitru, and that he and the SAFA Technical Director would now analyse the document to see where improvements could be made.
Mr Letsoaka commented that the submission was thought-provoking. He reported that SAFA was making changes to the current technical manual and that the manual would be aligned to Confederation of African Football’s manual.
Mr Steve Komphela commented that several valid points were made during the submission. After every tournament a technical report was made available, and he said that those reports should be analysed and looked at carefully. He also mentioned that the World Cup in 2014 will be played differently. He suggested that a workshop be held around the submission. There was a need to equip players to bring them in line with the modern realities of the game.
Chief Nonkonyana commented that there should be a shared vision by all South Africans, and that South Africa must not lose its own identity and style of football, although it could borrow elements of the game from other countries.
The Chairperson commented that all the inputs had a strong bearing on the Sports Act and that all relevant stakeholders would be called to participate in the interventions into improving football in South Africa. He also emphasised that the same standards should be implemented at all age levels, from U-17 right through to the national team. The required qualifications of coaches from overseas must be specified in the Act. He believed that SAFA would deliver on its goals.
The meeting was adjourned.
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