Bafana Bafana

Fish: Time for a shift in focus

2010-07-31 07:40
Mark Fish (Gallo)
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 Football365.co.za 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." 

Read more on:    safa  |  pitso mosimane  |  mark fish
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