‘Top schools must play soccer’

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Bafana_CT_Nigeria2 Gallo Images There are no youth structures to blood young players in South Africa and when they reach national level, they're woefully under-equipped. Picture: Manus van Dyk

Johannesburg – Danny Jordaan wants top rugby and cricket schools to also offer soccer.

The SA Football Association president openly admits there is no quick fix for South Africa and it will take several years to become a competitive footballing nation.

Jordaan knew he had his work cut out when he was elected three months ago, but he’s under even more pressure following Bafana Bafana’s early exit from the African Nations Championship last weekend and the backlash from the media, sports minister, and the public.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula even went as far as to label Bafana Bafana a “bunch of losers” and “useless individuals”.

Jordaan revealed that Safa would be launching excellence centres in all nine provinces to help develop talent. He acknowledges that we need to start by looking at grassroots development.

“We are working on getting scouts in place to identify talent.”

Jordaan said the route to world football was via Africa.

“If we are to qualify for African Nations Championship and the World Cup, we have to be regularly challenging African countries.

“So it’s important that from a junior level, our teams play against African teams.”

“Also our local clubs need to dominate in Africa. Look at Spain. Their national team dominates because their clubs dominate. Real Madrid and Barcelona make up the team. They win the Champions League and dominate in Europe.”

Jordaan says South African football has been missing structured competitions, qualified coaches, and centres of excellence.

“These things don’t exist in South Africa. Schools need to introduce football as one of their sports. If you look at the best schools in South Africa, very few of them offer soccer. Instead they focus on rugby and cricket. They have the finance, the best pitches and the best coaches. But they do not play football.

“We are planning to sit down with the ministers of sport and education to talk about introducing all sports at school.

Jordaan says the Safa committee has also discussed a name change for Bafana Bafana.

“But the name is, however, in the hearts of the people. People love Bafana with a passion. Bafana has become a global brand. If you go to New York, Tokyo, or Paris, people recognise the name Bafana Bafana.”

Jordaan says they will also be discussing Bafana manager Gordon Igesund’s position in the next few months.

So what goals has Jordaan set for Bafanain the next few years?

“The best we can achieve for now is to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and hope we don’t get kicked out in the first round.

”Our plan however is to compete in the 2022 World Cup. Not just participate, but compete in the World Cup.”

Saturday Star

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