JOHANNESBURG – SAFA President Danny Jordaan has urged Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter to build his squad for Vision 2022 - the same year Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup - around the junior national team players.
This follows after the national Under-20 football team qualified for the 2019 Africa Youth Championships to be played in Niger while the Under-17s are still on course to booking a spot in next year's Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
Amajimbos will have to win the on-going COSAFA tournament in Mauritius to qualify for the Afcon showpiece. They need a draw against Zambia today (kick-off at 1pm) to top Group B for a place in the semi-finals.
“We said to Stuart Baxter, whatever the age of your players in your team is, you must add four years to 2022. So if that player is 36 years old now, you must ask yourself the question: is that player for World Cup 2022?” Jordaan explained while speaking during the post-match interviews of the SAB League Under-21 National Championships final in Durban on Sunday. “Essentially, we are giving him the message that he must start with the next generation of Bafana Bafana players.”
He went on: “We've been to the 2017 Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, 2016 Olympics in Brazil and 2015 Under-17 World Cup in Chile. Our players have been to junior world cups, so perhaps we should be looking there to start building the Bafana team in the 2022 World Cup.”
Jordaan draws a lot of inspiration from how the young blood from countries such as England and France held their own at the World Cup in Russia.
This weekend also saw the women’s national under-17s finish third in the Brics games they hosted at Wits University. Bantwana were competing against Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Together with Banyana Banyana, they’ve also made the country proud this year following their qualification for this year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and World Cup.
Despite Banyana’s sole dependency on Sasol for sponsorship, they’ve proven that determination and focus always prevails.
The good news for the women's game in the country now is that next year, Safa would launch the Women’s National Soccer League that will cater for 10 teams from the Sasol League.
Asked about the readiness of this initiative in terms of sponsors and broadcasting rights, Jordaan indicated that the best person to discuss that was his vice president.
“We’ve tasked Ria Ledwaba specifically to deal with all of that. She’s busy going through the country to meet with the clubs for next year’s preparations.
We are also speaking to the commercial side to give support to the league that we want to launch next year.”