Too much money in the South African league is too dangerous. There is no ambition to go for experience overseas where it is cold and the cultures, languages and social norms are an obvious barrier. There is usually no family and friends there.
Players of old like Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish and Phil Masinga just to mention a few, liked style and good things. They were never easy to come by. They fought tooth and nail to get better lives. Their crave for success and ambitions were obvious.
The league has seen a lot of hungrier and committed players from neighbouring countries. They hogged the limelight, winning several individual accolades. George Nechironga, William and Wilfred Mugeyi, Benjani Mwaruwari, Chris Katongo, Roger Fetumba and Collins Mbesuma are a handful of examples. Many South Africans believe the influx of foreigners took away their chance, resulting in too many mediocre players in premiership.
The cycle began the other way round. There is just no committment and pride in South African players. Life has been good and things come easy. As I mentioned earlier, Mark Williams, Neil Tovey, Fani Madida, Ace Khuse, those guys would eat you alive if you crossed their football path.no more pride. There was no need for a coach to look outside for winners. Winning was in their hearts.
The situation is not helping Bafana Bafana. The better players get contracts with small foreign clubs. They warm benches overseas. They fail to put up with their own mediocrity and return home and fail once more to make an impact. You will remember one wasted talent of Stigger. Stanton Fredericks was not even average. He was hot property. He went to Russia and came back. You never knew where he was and cannot even say you know he came back.
Jabu Mahlangu, formerly Pule, is another example of those talented players that went overseas and came back without much to show for it. There is Captain Long John Mabizela who set White Hart Lane alight with his second half substitute debut appearance with a Goal Of The Year contender. His was a mixture of home-made misfortunes and indiscipline, bt all the same.
Football is like an option in South Africa. To other nations, it is a survival. Zimbabwe had its issues with many potential stars doing school and neglecting football altogether. A few would go in pursuit of both and succeed. Tauya Murehwa was a Medical Doctor while being a professional footballer. Many is his situation could not have pursued football, but he had passion and committment the South Africans need.
The money in the South African leagues can be channelled into neighbouring footballing nations to up their leagues so they can keep their own good players. A COSAFA version of clubs must then be put in place. This will benefit South Africa, who are battling in the Africa Champions’ League. The version that they make more money in the league than in the African Safari as an excuse for their poor showing in the competition is unfounded. If so, then they need to do this even more urgently.
This will add more to the players’ match demands but will be worthwhile for their exposure. They will get the necessary experience for their international careers and even prepare them for overseas football better than being in the domestic leagues. The benefits of playing well in the actual Champions’ League are obvious.
Do you think it will be worthwhile to have a SADC Champions’ League?