I pity those match commentators and analysts for not doing their home work especially in the case of United FC's remarkable story. For them to label Coach Dan Malesela's impressive team as a replica of Barcelona is surely ignorant and misleading.
The roots of United FC football philosophy are in the 1992-95 development work done at the Sport School of Excellence where, for the first time, we identified the strengths of SA young talent, mainly ball skill (including dribbling) possession, creativity, mobility, etc.
The training and playing philosophy was then designed according to those qualities. Some people who still have the 1995, SSE U12 videos would agree. All the coaches and players who were learning and benefiting from that genuine SA football mentality have been making a significant difference in the way the game is played, since.
There is a perfect match between Dan Malesela's coaching mentality and the nature and development of the majority of his players. Other coaches who previously worked with the players in same program (that also included the PUK Tawana experiment) - Zipho Dlangalala, Floyd Mogale and Sudesh Singh – share identical football mentality with what we see in United FC's football.
Fortunately, for all these coaches and players their knowledge and experiences on the SA unique players' profile has not been contaminated by the level 1, 2, or 3 coaching irrelevancy or imported coaches' 'expertise'.
The similarity between United FC and Barcelona's football are coincidental as there is proof that the actual potential of SA talent could exceed the standards and performance of current Barcelona if correct principles of development, training methods and competitions are provided to this rare quality young talent. WARNING: There are efforts made by those (SAFA?) who would like to 'marry' the nature of SA players with European aggression, physicality and simplistic tactics.
That shall never be allowed to happen!
By Dumitru Ted