Tuesday, July 22, 2014

South Africa Football Play-Offs; The Good and the Bad

We posted about the debacle of the African football game a few posts ago. Since, I went to watch the SAB National Championship at the North West University in Mafikeng, an under-21 tournament for players assumed to ply their trades in the South African fourth tier league (3rd Division). The games should be followed by an offseason, then a pre-season for 2014/15 period. One expects the leagues to resume after August 2014.

In the same vein, I tried to make my way to a last Safa Second Division Mpumalanga match featuring Kwazi Football Club and Phiva Young Stars. Phiva needed a draw or a win to clinch the provincial title that will send them to Durban for the play-offs. Winning the SSD play-offs is a ticket to the professional National First Division. Appoll X1 waited eagerly for the outcome as they topped the league. It turns out Kwazi did not turn up and the points were awarded to Phiva, but Appollo still think there is a bone to chew. 

Now, after the end of the season one NFD team has been sold and bought. Siyavutha FC of Mpumalanga changed hands and relocated to KwaZulu Natal. They managed to sign high quality players, hire and fire a coach already. They have the second set of a technical team. This team will compete with Phiva Young Stars, if they win the SSD play-offs. Royal Eagles, as Siyavutha are now known, are in pre-season while the Stars still have to beef up their squad for the NFD with the left overs of all other NFD teams. Then they will have to assemble a technical team and enter into a pre-season and then enter the bigger league.

In all this, where is parity? Is the planning adequate on the part of SAFA in terms of dealing with the SSD fixture that delayed to completion of the league, ABSA Premier Soccer League who have to accept and assimilate the SSD champions into their ranks as the custodians of the National First Division and Phiva Young Stars who still have to get funding, players and coaches for the NFD? Stars do not have much choice in the matter, but it is within their rights to be rendered adequate and proper pre-season preparation.

FIFA claim that they stand for ‘Football Is For All’, that it must be played and enjoyed by all, anywhere anytime, but is it? How many players in your area are registered at each age-group? Who are the responsible people for development? What programmes are in place for youth development and talent identification? If you are unaware or you have no interest in this, you are not a football person.

Regional office and local football association must furnish all regarding;
(1). list of top coaches and which clubs they belong to.
(2). all qualified coaches and their level of qualifications.
(3). regional database of best players in all age groups.
(4). school teachers who coach and their qualifications.
(5). coaching course instructors available and their qualifications and level of instruction.

Besides the database of coaches in all the leagues under the control of the offices, the development programs for 2014/15, courses for coaches, referees, administrators as well as Sports Medicine and the dates needs to be availed for public consumption. One cannot be a football person without the knowledge of structures available in their town and region. The people responsible for each of these should be known and be accessible public figures. Coaches will need to know those responsible for organising and running the courses, and how are the courses are organised.

Questions about the incentive and motivation for players and coaches in youth structures so as to attract competent coaches to coach the youths is essential, as the coaches needs to embrace development plan and implement it. Lower  leagues need enough competent coaches at every level as the Germans and other countries do. The competence of referees in these leagues and the referee development plan cannot be over-emphasised. It is common to overlook the competent Sports Medicine people and most of the time, nothing is done about it.

One can set themselves a target to find out, but the more they try, the harder they can fail. Go to your nearest football office and ask for any football database in Africa or any of the information above. As much as the Federation of International Football Associations preach ‘For the good of the Game’ one gets lucky to have public information public. It could be that it is never available, but either way, the responsible brothers make it classified information. It must be declassified and become public knowledge.

Colonisation ate our core and brainwashed us to abuse authority ignorantly or deliberately. The responsibility of amassing the data and information comes with the obligation to distribute and broadcast the same. Entrusted with public office, the bearers serve the masses for the benefit of the players of the game, coaches, managers, fans and all. The continent misses a system that can be availed to anyone at any time, whatever the reason.

I read several Technical Master Plans of many countries online. Strong and sound worded, but the materialisation of those remains afar off. The implementation either lacks funds or is entrusted to wrong people whose interests are to protect their offices and positions. Football is a business and bad products must be removed from the production lines and the processes terminated.

The African continent exports footballers overseas. As discussed in other pages, they perform well and become cult heroes in foreign lands, yet that does not translate to any success on the pitch on the motherland. The continent suffers from the natural wealth haemorrhage of the colonial past. That should be bad enough. However, given the football administrations’ international high profile flops, they remain innocent until proven guilty, and who is the jury? Them. Africa will forever remain the world laughing stock.