Tovey pleads for youth league
Neil Tovey (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Mpumalanga Black Aces new head coach Neil Tovey made an impassioned plea on Monday for soccer authorities to support development by forming a national under-19 league.
"We are stagnating and will continue to do so unless we start developing junior coaches and players from the under 12 age group to under-19," he said.
Tovey, who captained Bafana Bafana to success in the 1996 African Nations Cup finals on home soil, said South Africa would go nowhere unless the SA Football Association (SAFA) and PSL took notice and started developing not just children, but coaches and referees.
"We have nine provinces in our country and we should have a development centre in each one. We could see as many as 200 players from under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-19 coming through with the right coaching.
"We need to send development coaches, say 30 of them, all over the world to learn and then teach our kids," he said.
He described it as "nonsense" to speak of a player as a youngster at the age of 22 or 23.
"By the age of 22 he should have played five years in the PSL, but because we do little about development and do not have a reserve league we stagnate."
Tovey said the national under-19 league could be used as the PSL reserve league - which the country sorely needed.
It would encourage clubs to blood youngsters and would keep them match fit.
He said he sent his blueprint for development to SAFA 10 years ago and got no response.
Tovey, who won the PSL championship as co-coach with Mamelodi Sundowns, was supported by Moroka Swallows coach Rainer Zobel.
"A reserve league is a must. It is tough keeping players who are not playing regularly match fit without giving them game time.
"I hear some PSL clubs have as many as 40 players in their squad. It is impossible to give every player a game. Some players go through a whole season without kicking a ball in the PSL. A reserve league would solve that problem," he said.