Fish: Time for a shift in focus

2010-07-31 07:40

Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish believes it is about time a common focus is directed at development in South Africa.

For far too long, youth football has suffered in Mzansi due to the lack of interest from those right at the top of the food chain.

Fish insists that now is the time to utilise the money left by FIFA following the conclusion of the World Cup and put it to good use by getting development back on track.

The 36-year-old told at a luncheon for the launch of the Western Cape leg of the Nestle MILO Champions Tournament: "Pitso (Mosimane) has come out and said development, but we had Carlos Quieroz and Stuart Baxter here.

"Carlos' aim was to qualify for the 2002 World Cup but then he was bulleted by SAFA. The thing is that all these coaches have come before and said development, but coaches get fired so quickly.

"Pitso's words are not new, we all know development is an issue.

"It is now up to people like SAFA and SASFA to work together and make sure the money received from FIFA is filtered in the right direction, to improve development in South Africa."

Mosimane has a tough challenge ahead of him in trying to qualify the national team for both the 2012 African Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup, while at the same time appeasing SAFA.

Fish believes it would be a good thing to give the new man in charge as much of a chance as possible, but ultimately it is up to him to make the bold decisions, not unlike Clive Barker during his tenure in charge during the 1990s.

"At the end of the day we are a sport-loving nation and we obviously want results. Lets hope they can do that, but we will have to wait and see," the former Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers star continued.

"Unfortunately, I have been down the line and seen what SAFA is all about and I can guarantee you that if Pitso doesn't get a couple of results in his first five or six games, he will be gone. That is the problem.

"At the end of the day we need everybody to put their heads together and work towards a common goal. Let's hope they will give Pitso the time and allow him to make the changes he wants.

"He is now the coach of the national team and he has a couple of big decisions to make. I remember in 1996 when Clive Barker made one big decision and now he is arguably the best coach to have ever coached Bafana Bafana."

Fish is among a small group of professional footballers from South Africa who have been able to make the grade at the highest level in European football.

Things have changed since then, with the current crop of stars finding it hard to break through and establish themselves in the European game.

Fish puts that down to desire more than anything else and believes that some players have become far too comfortable with what they have in South Africa.

"If you look at the likes of myself, Lucas (Radebe) and Phil (Masinga), it comes down to the desire of the players. I think that if the players have got the hunger and are good enough then you must go overseas," the Cape Town-born spokesperson for Nestle MILO added.

"I think that because the ABSA Premiership has changed so much, players get paid well by their clubs. To go overseas and not play much - who wants to do that? I think it comes down to the desire of the players to want to go overseas.

"Someone like Bongani Khumalo has got a good future - he is a great footballer on the field and is a focused kid off the field. I'm sure that he is someone who can go over there and fly the flag high for South Africa." 


  • Simon - 2010-07-31 09:38

    The only way that we can develope soccer from the beginner ranks is if it is organised and controlled. Until there is a seperate developemnt structure that soley delivers, is soley accountable and responsible it will never happen. All the money in world will never be of use until SAFA recognise a separate entity to look after our national sport developement!

  • Cas - 2010-08-02 11:04

    This the most honest comments I have heard in a long time from RSA soccer experts.I bet you (Fish )will not get anymore invites from SAFA

  • DC - 2010-08-04 10:02

    Lets also start playing soccer with a bit of brains and not looking for shibobo's all the time. Our youngsters need to be technically sound first, then they need to get physically strong (not like Modise & Pienaar who looked like they have some disease and could not perform against the best at the world cup), thereafter the skill will shine through as you dont loose you skill and flair, but technique & strength are built over time & practise. Look at the like of DR Khumalo & Helman Mkelele. They have alot of skill & could do the shibobo's as well, but they were well built, strong & technically good players all round. Not like the players we see in the Bafana side today, those mentioned above. If a wind blew, Modise could fly away. Remember Tinkler & Linda Buthelezi who used to play in midfield. Tinkler could also play in the middle for the Boks im sure. He was huge. He had powerfull shots from range & was an excellent tackler & passer of the ball. If you ask many people, they would not even no which club he played for, but Barker knew that he needed a player like this in his team. We need that same mentality today. we cannot just choose players who play for "big" clubs. we need to look for players who will fit in with the different syles needed in each position. Lets start now with the under 10's and develop from there as it is impossible to go and take Pienaar & Modise and try to build them up to be strong players. Lets choose players who are under 25 for the Bafana team becos in 2014, they will be at there best at around 26 to 29 years of age. It does not make sence to select a player who is over 29 to play today, when he will be 33+ & past his best by the next world cup. So the likes of Mokoena, Sibaya, Booth, Modise, Nomvete and others, must remain were they are, playing out there careers at their clubs

  • Tibla - 2010-08-05 09:02

    People, school sports will deliver us from this evil nightmare, not just soccer, cricket, netball, volleyball etc only through viable and organised school sport system are we able to delivered channeled development, also we need to develop a culture of community sports linked to schools around a particular area, start early and those with promise go further but those with limited chances stay within the sporting community entrenching their love and support for sport whilst also helping them make correct life decisions, this is not just about bafana, it is also abot the future of the children and the country in genral not forgeting the enhanced quality of life, because parents and children get down and dirty with the business of developing sport and positive behaviours, SA has a chance to turn a corner against the many evils in our society and sports comes as the number one item south africans have failed to embrace to address social issues.

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