Johannesburg – We are heading towards our general elections, Mzansi. It’s a time when we get offered the world, and lots of money is spent lobbying support.
It’s that time when our president Jacob Zuma dances to the beats of a machine gun and lifts his leg higher than Dr Malinga at the South African music awards.
It’s that time when Helen Zille puts on her blue pumps and rocks Cape Town with dance moves straight out of a PJ Powers music video from the ’80s.
We also have a couple of new contenders in the Economic Freedom Fighters and Agang. But nobody really thinks they will be able to “Cope” during next year’s elections.
This is in contrast to the South African Football Association presidential elections, where we haven’t seen a lot of lobbying, at least not in the open. Who knows what goes on in the dark alleys of South African football.
But I would suspect that youth development would probably be one of the hottest topics if the two candidates running for the top job, Danny Jordaan and Mandla “Shooz” Mazibuko, had a sort of American-style presidential debate.
The development of top-class talent in South Africa has been neglected by the bigwigs of local football over the past 15 years or so, which has caused Bafana Bafana to drop from a record 16th in the world during the national team’s purple patch in the late ’90s to the mess they found themselves in before the 2010 World Cup on home soil.
For me, though, there’s one ridiculous rule the PSL and Safa have to take a much closer look at: the mandatory five Under-23 players in the starting line-up of a National First Division team.
As with most things, it seems that the head honchos of football in this country didn’t think this one through, especially because you don’t have to finish the game with five of those players on the field.
I have been at a couple of matches over the last year or so when an Under-23 player gets replaced in the first few minutes of kickoff, which makes a mockery of the rules.
It’s lovely exposure for these players, but you are essentially turning the second tier of South African football into a development league.
The rule should maybe change to two or three players at the most, but to play with five in a league like the NFD, where blood and guts trump skills and intelligence, is stupid because it has no development value.
Without sounding like a broken record, the development of good players should be done at grassroots level and not when they are in their 20s.
Players in their 20s should be competing in the Premiership, and must be on the verge of playing overseas, because that is where they compete with the best.
The NFD should not be a feeder league, but it seems like Safa and to a lesser extent the PSL are trying to rectify years of neglecting development by just painting over the cracks again. The problem is, though, that after the paint fades, it normally reveals that a poor job had been done.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
@Lord_Sugar: The special one has lost again to Basel. Roman can’t be happy.He could be first manager in PL to get the chop. Let’s see how they do at WHL.
WHO TO FOLLOW
@sererothulani: The former Ajax boy did well against Barcelona this week after miraculously recovering from injury.
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