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Open Letter to the South African Football Association

Written By Themba Khumalo on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear SAFA (South African Football Association),

I really appreciate the efforts you've done to bring Gordon Igesund into the Bafana Bafana set up; I have seen great improvements. The problem is however not with the coach or players, the problem is in the nation's sport system. Wait, we do not have one.

Yesterday, our national ladies hockey team lost 5-1 against the Olympic champions; their second loss of the current series, but no words mentioned. Our cricket team are top ranked but they have no world title. Our athletes struggle at the Olympics.

All in all, South Africa does not have a football problem but a sports problem. So many SRSAs documents mention development and winning medals but they don't have a solid plan of how to get there.

Our minister's words were disgusting and embarrassing. I would love to know what sport qualifications or experience he has. You do not build champions in three weeks; it takes 10 years to build a competitive athlete (something that should start from an early age).

In order to be the best, you have to play the best (Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria), experience defeat, experience competitive football (at junior level, regional - COSAFA, continental - CAF, international - FIFA, and club - PSL), and utilize your sports science resources.

Fact: talent can only become world class, with exposure. Players should play for Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23, before they can get to the senior side. The Under-17 and 20s can only become better if they play and they have regular training camps in other countries (camps that will allow is to play against overseas teams like England, Brazil, Japan, Australia).

The sad part about all this is that NO ONE WILL LISTEN. It’s time to give young administrators the opportunity to bring change; you can only fail or gain experience, if you are given the opportunity.

BSportSci (cum laude), BA (Hons) Rec and Sport Management
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