Cape Town - For almost two decades now development in South African football has been viewed as a major problem and there have been few signs of improvement in recent years.
And it is for precisely that reason that SAFA’s new technical director Neil Tovey has a massive job on his hands. Creating and then optimising the country’s development structures form the core of what Tovey’s responsibilities will be, and he is ready to get going.
"Our football is at a stage now where we do need to get the development side of things properly done and then the national team will be taken care of automatically," Tovey told Sport24 on Monday when asked how closely he will be working with the national side.
"There will be a big emphasis on coaching development, of youth development and structures… high performance centres and those types of things," added Bafana Bafana’s captain at the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.
"We have to get our database of coaches bigger and then obviously through the different LFAs we have to tighten the knots … make sure the leagues are strength versus strength."
It will be a very hands-on approach, and as of Monday Tovey was still in the process of tying down a few details of his contract with SAFA while also planning his relocation from Durban to Johannesburg.
Tovey added that he had been approached by SAFA before, but that his decision to join now was based solely on timing.
"This came about and I could have said no … I have been saying no for a while. I think the timing is right now," he said.
"I want young players coming through to the national team and playing a major role… and the success of the junior national sides from U17 through to U20 is also part of the longer term goal. We want to put structures in place now so that we get youngsters wanting to come back to the beautiful game of football."