Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates’ youth technical director Augusto Palacios believes South Africa has the most talented players on the continent, but there is a lack of commitment.
Speaking at the launch of the Shield Sbonis’ iDiski campaign at Discovery Soccer Park in Johannesburg this week, Palacios said the country’s players have the potential to go far.
“I always say South Africa has better talent in the country and in Africa,” said Palacios, who has been developing players for more than 23 years.
He said that when he went to Chelsea in the UK and spoke to the technical director of Tottenham Hotspur, they discussed “Mbulelo [Mabizela]. Such a great player, but you know what the problem is? Attitude, discipline, behaviour and arriving late for training.”
Palacios said a lot of coaches in Europe shared his feelings about South African players.
Mabizela joined Tottenham after helping Pirates beat the English side in their off-season tour to South Africa in 2003.
He went on to score on his debut against Leicester City, but his contract was terminated because of ill-discipline.
Palacios also spoke about continuity in the national teams.
“Why don’t we have continuity in the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 national teams? The problem we have is that there is a lack of continuity and consistency.”
Peru-born Palacios also touched on South African teams in continental club competitions.
“We don’t have consistency at club level. Why is it only [Mamelodi] Sundowns and SuperSport [United] who are doing well in CAF competitions?
“We need to look at our football in the long term because, when a player is 18, we say he is too young; but when he is 23, he is perfect.”
The 68-year-old said players as young as 17 should be playing regularly.
The Shield campaign is a nationwide competition open to all South Africans in which three players will be selected to travel to London to train with Chelsea.
One of three stars will be given a one-year development contract with Pirates.
.To enter, buy any Shield product and dial *120*744353# for a chance to win. For more information on dates and times, visit shield.co.za