S'Busiso Mseleku

Drought in front of goal

2014-08-18 13:11
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

The Absa Premiership matches played to date this season have proved one thing - South African players find it very hard to score goals.

Case in point was the original Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows played at the former mecca of South African football, Orlando Stadium.

Pirates created a bucketful of chances but ended up losing the match 2-1. Actually Swallows only had two shots on target the entire 90 minutes - and they resulted in goals!

Compare this to the statistic that in the English Premiership season-opener, the Community Shield, at half-time Arsenal and Manchester City had recorded a total of 10 shots at goal between them.

This shows you that South African football is in dire straits.

Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 1-all draw in their first match in a game where they could have easily buried the opposition (Maritzburg United) in an avalanche of goals.

But typical of South African football, coaches are going to be victims of their players' firing of blanks.

SuperSport United coach Cavin Johnson and his Free State Stars counterpart Tom Saintfeit, are already toping the speculative list on who is the coach who will be the first to get the proverbial chop this season.

This after their respective 1-0 home losses to Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs.

Believe you me, South African club bosses are not shy to pull the trigger on coaches.

Sadly though, nothing happens to the players who fail to convert even some of the simplest scoring chances on the field. And honestly, there is nothing a coach can do from the sidelines to put the ball in the back of the net.

Reality is that the players we see week in and week out squandering chances, are the same lot from which "Shakes" Mashaba must pick his Bafana Bafana squad.

With very few South African players plying their trade overseas - something that says a lot about local talent and its development - the bulk of Bafana Bafana players, sadly, come from the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

So what do PSL clubs do to combat the goal-scoring dilemma?  

They go for a quick solution and employ foreign players. They do this instead of combating the scourge through their development academies.

As a result, we have seen many foreign players walk away with the top goal-scorer of the year award. It does not end there, we have seen a lot of players who make their living in the PSL put the sword on Bafana Bafana when our national team plays against their nations.

The lack of goals in our domestic soccer has made it so boring, such torture to watch and has surely contributed to the dwindling crowds at the stadiums.

This in turn makes for poor television shots as there are rows and rows of empty seats and no real vibe at the stadiums when compared to a packed one.

Our soccer authorities must address these issues. Pronto!

*Addendum: The pitch of the Charles Mopeli Stadium on which the Free State Stars v Kaizer Chiefs match was played, is not suitable for professional football.

It was a sight for sore eyes on television.

Something needs to be done.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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