Johannesburg - New Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane believes, in order for the national team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, local soccer needs a major overhaul.
But the obvious question facing his bosses at the South African Football Association is who will fund the much-needed and far-reaching reforms?
That question could easily be answered by SAFA president Kirstin Nematandani whose body has benefited by a whopping R1bn from FIFA after staging of the World Cup.
When asked if this windfall would be used to sponsor a PSL Reserve League, one of Mosimane’s requirements to streamline and develop soccer in SA, Nematandani side-stepped the issue stating that soccer needed corporate sponsors for such a venture.
But surely the entire R1bn which is earmarked for development could make all Mosimane's dreams and hopes come true?
The PSL started the ball rolling before the World Cup when they announced all First Division clubs next season would comprise a minimum of five under-23 players in their starting line-ups and had put up R70m to bank roll the new-look First Division.
The ball is now in SAFA’s court. That R1bn must not be allowed to burn a hole in SAFA’s pocket. The spirit and legacy of one of the most successful World Cups in history must not be squandered. Bold and innovative decisions, which Mosimane outlined, need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
Nematandani did pledge his full support for his new head coach.
“Pitso does not need to doubt SAFA. We will support him in his vision for 2014 and do whatever to takes to make sure Bafana succeed in their goal of reaching Brazil.”
Speaking a week after he was named as Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s replacement, Mosimane stressed while he would not change Bafana’s playing style there was plenty of room for improvement.
Mosimane said he had taken the initiative and held two informal meetings with the PSL management. He has also proposed holding regular meetings with PSL coaches and working more closely with them.
“We need to work closely with the PSL and I have opened up channels of co-operation,” said the new coach.
He added he'd learnt a lot from Parreira.
“He was good to me and helped me develop as a coach. But I want to do things differently.
"I want to do it my way and be successful. I have worked hard for four years as an assistant and now is the right time for me to take charge of Bafana.”
He also stated that if Bafana are to continue to keep alive the spirit they showed in the recent World Cup, the country’s soccer structures need a big shake-up.
“We need to reduce the foreign quota of players in the PSL from five to three players per team and force clubs to play two or three local under-23 players in every starting line-up.
"We need to form regional, provincial and national under-20 leagues. I do not want to be stuck with a bunch of old players in 2014.”
Mosimane said he did not want South Africa to fall into the hole both England and Italy found themselves in at the World Cup. Both the defending world champions Italy and 1966 champions England flopped in South Africa in June.
Italy crashed in the first round and England went out to Germany in the second round.
“England may have the best league in the world but the league is full of foreign players. Development has been neglected and it showed at the World Cup. The same goes for Italy.”
Mosimane faces a tough baptism when he leads Bafana against Ghana in a friendly in his first match in charge at Soccer City on August 11 in preparation for the opening African Nations Cup (Afcon) qualifier against Niger at home on September 4.
Bafana are in a tough qualifying group which also includes African champions Egypt and Sierra Leone for a place in the 2012 finals to be played jointly in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
“I have a performance clause in my contract which I am happy with. I am not scared. I would not have taken on this job if I was not confident of succeeding. But, for me, the key is qualifying for the 2013 Afcon finals.”
Mosimane said he would use the annual Cosafa Cup (a regional tournament competed for by the 13 members of the Council of Southern African Football Associations) and the African Nations Championship to groom future Bafana players.