Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung has expressed concern over the poor performance of South African players overseas.
Motaung is also worried that South African clubs do not produce good-quality youngsters any more.
He said the situation did not auger well for the country and the Chiefs boss urged players to choose wisely when looking for an overseas club.
Interestingly, among those who have failed to make the grade overseas are former Chiefs players Mandla Masango and Tefu Mashamaite, who returned to South Africa after spending less than two seasons abroad.
Masango spent a season and a half at Randers FC in Denmark, while Mashamaite only spent a year at Swedish side HK Häcken. Both of them are now at Amakhosi rivals SuperSport United, which is coached by their former mentor, Stuart Baxter.
Former Ajax Cape Town captain Granwald Scott also returned to the Premiership after leaving ŠK Slovan Bratislava for Bidvest Wits. He had joined the Slovak giants in January last year.
Sameehg Doutie, who joined Atlético de Kolkata in July 2015 and helped them clinch the Indian Premier League title in December, has moved to Ajax Cape Town.
However, the likes of former Bafana stars Kagisho Dikgacoi and Anele Ngcongca spent more than five years in Europe, but they have since come back as well.
Motaung said: “Maybe it depends on [the country] where the players go; the standard of the league [there] and what effects and benefits these have on their career. It is not good for them to come back [so quickly].
“The most important thing is that it [playing abroad] must be seen as a step forward and they should spend a lot of time overseas before coming back home. If they go for one or two years, it is not good for them and the country.
“But it could also be the fact that our players are not as challenged or as ambitious as some of us were in the past. Some might see the PSL as the ultimate [league], but, for others, it might be seen as a stepping stone to something bigger.
“It is all about how thirsty and ambitious a player is. The thing about sports, and football in particular, is to have ambition, which calls for hard work.”
Motaung also raised concerns about the lack of good players coming from development structures.
“Over the years, we have promoted players, but at a slow rate.
“The future lies with the youth and we need a good structure for the league to succeed.”
Motaung said that, in football, there is an artificial economy created by agents who exploit the market and inflate player prices. This is why it was important to nurture talent from within a club, he said.
“The costs [of players] are always rising, not coming down, and it is a problem if you aren’t producing good players.
“It does not auger well for the country to depend on acquisitions from other countries. In the end, our legacy will be judged by how the national team is doing.
“We are not doing well because of the scarcity of quality strikers. For example, the English Premiership is regarded as the best in the world because it attracts quality players, but the English national team has only won the Soccer World Cup once and, to date, they have never made it to the top two in the world. It just shows the effect a league has on a national team.”
Without kicking a ball
Motaung said Chiefs were finalising their development structure and he believed they would be able to produce the talent needed to take the country forwards.
“Ours is a work in progress as we want this conveyor belt to produce quality players,” he said.
He believes new Chiefs striker Gustavo Páez will find his footing in the league. He said the Venezuelan should be given a chance.
“He has some good touches and, once he settles in, he will be able to deliver.”
The Chiefs boss said he had no idea why Enocent Mkhabela failed to make the grade. Mkhabela joined Amakhosi at the beginning of the season, but he has since been loaned out to his former side Platinum Stars – without kicking a ball for Chiefs.
“He hardly played and hardly made the team. Every time he was selected [to play], he had an injury, making him unavailable to play.
“I’m not sure if it was his psyche or bad luck. It is disappointing that you sign a player and after six months he does not show any potential.”