Safa outlines plan to make Bafana a world force

Soccer academies and programmes for coaches form part of a master plan to turn Bafana Bafana into a world force in soccer, MPs heard on Tuesday.

South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Leslie Sedibe, presenting this vision to the parliamentary portfolio committee of sport and recreation, said soccer authorities were “going back to basics” to get Bafana beating the world’s best.

“Our vision as Safa is to elevate football in the next two to four years to where South Africa’s national teams command the respect of the international football community and the unconditional support of the South African public.”

Safa would do this, he said, by focusing on “grass root” development and growing a pool of quality coaches, administrators and players.

“We want to establish structures for talent scouting … and we also want to establish a football development curriculum to ensure that adequately qualified and skilled people work in academies,” Sedibe said.

“We want to strengthen the specialised courses for goalkeepers and strikers …

“One of the interesting things we learned from the technical team of the World Cup is that Siphiwe Tshabalala’s [distance] rate during a match had gone from 8km to 13km. A marked improvement. This is the sort of performance we want to see in our players.”

Regulating coaches
One of the aims was to regulate the coaching profession.

“We want to develop coaches for national, provincial and club academies,” said Sedibe.

Sedibe said new Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane had signed a contract with Safa obligating him to attend “ongoing interactions” with Safa’s technical director and the coaches of the under-23, under-20 and under-17 teams “to develop a uniform coaching and training strategy”.

“It is a much more holistic team effort, where once a month all coaches have the opportunity to sit around the room and understand each others’ programmes,” Sedibe said.

“All our coaches will work together so that ultimately there is a uniform approach in terms of style of football played in the country.

“We have said to our coach that we will give him all the support he requires. It is in all our interest that we succeed.”

World soccer governing body Fifa had given Safa Bafana’s match schedule to 2014, which would create an opportunity to plan for each game.

“We will never have any excuses that we didn’t know who we are going to play. We need to plan properly.”

Beset with problems
Sedibe said, however, that Safa was beset with problems, including a lack of money to buy land and poor physical education programmes at school.

“Safa does not own land. For us to set up successful academies and schools of excellence, we need land.

“Land is expensive. Infrastructure is expensive.

“That is why we need to make a partnership with the government. We need a unique plan around football.”

Sedibe called for physical education to return as part of the school curriculum.

“They used to donder [beat] us if we didn’t do phys-ed,” he said.

“It was mandatory to do certain things. It is why obesity is becoming one of the biggest problems in the world.

“We took physical education and threw it out the window, and then come World Cup we expect to have world-class players. Where do they come from?” — Sapa

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