Johannesburg - The Premier Soccer League (PSL) believes age cheating has robbed the country of many talented youngsters.
As a result of this phenomenon, many deserving youngsters were overlooked for older players because coaches wanted to win at all costs and please their masters.
But PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza believes the establishment of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) has helped to apply brakes to this scourge.
Able to monitor
Khoza said clubs had suffered as a result of coaches wanting to win by hook or by crook and that this hampered the progress of many youngsters.
He said the MDC would go a long way in eradicating age cheating, but added that it would take some time to get it right.
“The MDC has shown us that, by investing in the youth, clubs are able to monitor and understand that the player is using the right age,” said Khoza.
The Iron Duke said that there had not been any talent coming up because it was suppressed by coaches who opted for the easy way out by taking short cuts to win tournaments by fielding over-age boys.
Since the introduction of the MDC, a few youngsters have already come through the ranks of their clubs and made the senior squads.
This year alone has seen the promotion of the likes of Lyle Foster at Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs’ rising star Wiseman Meyiwa.
Last season saw the introduction of Motjeka Madisha at Mamelodi Sundowns and the defender has not disappointed since his promotion to the first team.
Belong to same stable
“All these years, no sensations were coming up and we now realise the age was not right. People you employ want to make you happy and you don’t check. You think a player is young only to realise he is 27 because of the people you employ. Now, with the MDC, different communities see the boys from their 'hood because they see them on TV and know exactly how long they have been playing. There have been a few of them coming up since the start of the MDC. People are able to assist in monitoring,” Khoza said.
At the same time, Khoza bemoaned the collusion of club officials and player agents.
It is known that certain coaches belong to the same stable as their players and Khoza said this practice had pros and cons.
“It is a sickness in the industry. You say we must not interfere and leave the coach to do his work and give him the licence to do as he wishes, but by doing so, we allow the collusion to take place. It is happening every time that certain players follow certain coaches and are managed by the same agents. It is a merry-go-round".
He said there was nothing wrong if everything was done above board as this would not raise the suspicion of collusion.
“If a proper talent is given talent, it is not a problem, but if it is not, then it becomes a money-making scheme.
"Sometimes, there is a need to intervene when these things happen".