If top quality managers could not create a winning side, then perhaps it was the players at fault. Perhaps we actually thought too much of them, based on a media which feels the need to hyperbole every Bafana player and proclaims how every tournament is going to be “the one”.
The sad fact is that our reliance on a generation that has won nothing has resulted in a future which lacks depth and experience. Experts quality coaching is required at all levels. More hours are pointless if coaching is not good enough. The key is that coaching needs to be a profession and a coach needs to be a teacher to young players. If so, then the quality and pool of talent will improve.
Do we suffer from a sense of short termism? Always, in my opinion, we are an impatient nation who want success and wealth, yet are not willing to put in the time to accomplish our goals. We then blame everything but ourselves for our failings. We need to change this mentality and understand that a project takes time and perseverance, it requires patience and most importantly it requires people to believe in it.
If we are serious about developing players and improving our national side, we need to give this project time. We should always have a South African in charge of our national team, every other major nation does and it makes an embarrassment out of us to believe we need a foreign manager to lead our country.
The role of the manager is more than coaching the national side. He should be the man who brings all levels together, from grassroots to the senior side. He needs to inspire a nation.
This role requires more than a world class coach; we need a project manager which we have in Gordon Igesund, one who can oversee 10 years of development to give this national side sustainability. Bafana will not win anything in the coming years, and that this is not a bad thing. We need to stop obsessing about winning every tournament; we need to understand our players.
If we become realistic about the issues needed to address, then perhaps we can put in place foundations for the future which give us a better standing for the future. At this time we are in a stage of transition; players need to move on and young players need to be given experience and time to improve.
Experience is the most fundamental aspect of development. By depriving players of valuable time, opposition and circumstances, clubs are doing a disservice to them. Igesund’s ideas for Bafana have merit, he should be given the chance to develop them. However we cannot hold out hope that success will come quickly. I believe in the success of coaching and of development. I do not believe that money solves everything, especially top down projects.
Without change I cannot see Bafana winning things in the next 20 years. It is essential to give the new generation of players the required caps and experience to develop. We need to see value in playing for all levels of the national side and put more into winning tournaments at 17’s,19’s and 21’s.
By Lucas Mogale
By Lucas Mogale