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READER’S VIEW: Not another foreign coach!

Posted: 3 July 2014 Time: 17:14

KickOff.com reader Mothusi Matshe outlines in great detail why, in his belief, hiring another foreign coach would be the wrong move for Bafana Bafana.

I am writing this letter in the interests of South African football and as a concerned football supporter, who doesn’t like the direction that our football is taking if reports of either Stephen Keshi or Carlos Quieroz as possible Gordon Igesund successors are anything to go by.

If either of these two men or any other foreign coach is chosen to lead Bafana Bafana, unfortunately we will continue on this downward trajectory. I am going to start with facts and then at the end of my piece express an opinion, I just hope that within SAFA and the PSL there are still administrators who can not only read but google as well to verify those facts.

Since the inception of the world cup 84 years ago, in 1930, no foreign coach has ever led their adopted country to world cup victory and for ease of reference I took the pleasure of compiling the list of previous world cup winners, their coaches and the coach’s country of birth:

1.       Spain, 2010 Vicente Del Bosque (Spain)

2.       Italy, 2006 Marcello Lippi (Italy)

3.       Brazil, 2002 Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil)

4.       France, 1998 Aime Jacquet (France)

5.       Brazil, 1994 Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil)

6.       Germany, 1990 Frans Beckenbauer (Germany)

7.       Argentina, 1986 Carlos Bilardo (Argentina)

8.       Italy, 1982 Enzo Bearzot (Italy)

9.       Argentina, 1978 Cesar Luis Menotti (Argentina)

10.   Germany, 1974 Helmut Schoen (Germany)

11.   Brazil, 1970 Zagallo (Brazil)

12.   England, 1966 Alf Ramsey (England)

13.   Brazil, 1962 Anymore Moreira (Brazil)

14.   Brazil, 1958 Vicente Feola (Brazil)

15.   Germany, 1954 Sepp Herberger (Germany)

16.   Uruguay, 1950 Juan Lopez (Uruguay)

17.   Italy, 1938 Vittorio Pozzo (Italy)

18.   Italy, 1934 Vittorio Pozzo (Italy)

19.   Uruguay, 1930 Alberto Suppici (Uruguay)

This trend is unlikely to change if the current last 8 teams are anything to go by, and again for ease of reference I took the liberty to compile a list of the teams that are still left in the world cup, their coaches and the coach’s country of birth:

1.       Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil)

2.       Argentina, Alejandro Sabella (Argentina)

3.       Germany, Joachim Low (Germany)

4.       Belgium, Marc Wilmots (Belgium)

5.       Netherlands, Luis van Gaal (Netherlands)

6.       France, Didier Deschamps (France)

7.       Colombia, Jose Pekerman (Born in Argentina, naturalised Colombian)

8.       Costa Rica, Jorge Luis Pinto (Colombian)

History tells us that going into the final stretch of World Cup 2014, Colombia and Costa Rica are already on the back foot if we are to assume that a coach’s nationality is a factor in winning the world cup trophy.

This phenomenon is not unique to world football but to South Africa as well, therefore it might be too much to expect our administrators to base our success on international standards. Let me then bring the facts closer to home and use the AFCON cup as a “measure” of success. Our best results in the African showpiece were achieved when we were coached by our very own:

1.       Clive Barker, 1996 AFCON champions (it’s worth a mention that he also qualified for the ’98 world cup, and a foreign coach was appointed to go and embarrass us at that world cup)

2.       Jomo Sono, 1998 AFCON runners up

3.       Trott Moloto, 2000 AFCON 3rd place

Understanding the brand and the culture in league and national contexts are mutually exclusive, applying tactics and strategies to different nationalities within a club is very different to applying those tactics and strategies to the same nationalities within a squad. The concept is easy to understand but a bit tricky to apply, in a club situation where there are different nationalities the coach (either local or foreign) with the superior tactics and strategies will likely succeed. One might then ask why Gordon Igesund or Pitso Mosimane didn’t succeed because the “culture” part was already taken care of by virtue of them being South Africans, well the answer is very simple a very weak youth development structure, a weak PSL and possibly poor tactics.

Any coach that is tactically strong and possesses good strategies can win the league with any club in any country, hence the Mourinhos of this world can win leagues in four different countries or a Stuart Baxter can win the league with Kaizer Chiefs. Stuart Baxter and Ted Dumitri won back to back league titles with Kaizer Chiefs but that didn’t guarantee them success with the South African national team. Based on this I doubt Jose Mourinho will ever win the World Cup with England, Italy and Spain let alone take up the challenge but I give him a long shot that he might with Portugal.

The methodology of winning on an international platform is not isolated to tactics only, and the 3 gentlemen I mentioned above are master tacticians, but is aligned to a particular brand of football that can be easily identifiable with that country. A strong league with 2 to 3 very strong teams that comprises mostly that country’s players can easily feed those players into the national set up:

- Spain’s brand of football can be directly linked to the brand of football that Barcelona plays

- Germany’s brand of football can be linked to how Bayern Munich plays

- Netherland’s brand of football to Ajax

- Italy’s brand of football to AC Milan

I mention these countries not necessarily as previous world cup winners but as examples of why they are likely to do well on an international stage like the world cup based on the link from club to country. Football evolves all the time therefore the methods, brand and type of football each country plays needs to be re-visited and re-invented all the time to keep up with the current standards meaning what worked four years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it will work four years later:

-          Brazil’s brand of football (The Samba) was successful in 2002, but 4 years later that same brand of football let them down in 2006.(lack of re-invention)

-          Italy’s brand of football was effective in the 2006 world cup, aligned to Milan winning the champion’s league in the 2006/07 season.(knocked out in the 1st round of WC 2010)

-          Then came Spain with their unique brand of football in the 2010 world cup, Barcelona took the 2010/11 edition of the champions league.(knocked out in the 1st round of WC 2014, furthermore Spain’s dismal performance can be directly linked to a trophyless Barcelona in the 2013/14 season)

England, just like South Africa, will never win the World Cup because of an influx of foreign players, foreign coaches and good marketing which has them under the illusion that they have the best league in the world. In their league it is easy to identify the top 4 teams, but in those top 4 teams the quality of English players is far inferior to their foreign counterparts and whenever they get to the world cup this small little fact is exposed. I dare any SAFA official or FA official to put it to us the kind of brand/style of football Bafana Bafana and England are playing right now that is unique to those two countries, and align that particular brand of football to a specific club in that country’s league.

No foreign coach is going to fix our footballing problems, even if we get Alex Ferguson as head coach, Jose Morihno as his assistant and Luiz Felipe Scolari as technical director for Bafana Bafana it is not going to work.

We need strong football administrators, who don’t have hidden agendas and are only interested in generating revenue that paints the PSL as the “best” league in Africa by virtue of being well marketed. We need administrators who can actually identify our problems, isolate them and come up with tangible solutions to deal with those problems. What we don’t need is the same old solutions packaged as new, where a foreign coach comes to South Africa and has to “learn our football culture” and then fails dismally and gets a golden handshake (and the money for these “handshakes” will always be there because our product(PSL) is easily marketable just like the EPL but kills our national team, just like the EPL has murdered the English squad), then a poor South African coach gets roped in to try and fix what is essentially a hopeless situation.

Instead of SAFA asking our players and the general public to be patriotic about Bafana Bafana, we should be posing a simple question to some PSL club owners and SAFA administrators: “Are you interested in developing a strong national squad that competes with the best on an international platform or are you interested in lining your pockets at the expense of the national team just like your English counterparts?”

Minister Fikile Mbalula’s “bunch of losers” comments were unfortunately misdirected at our poor players (who just happen to be victims of circumstances that they didn’t create), the truth of the matter is that some PSL club owners have let the country down together with their SAFA colleagues and those are the real “bunch of losers” and they have been for the last 13 years plus.

By Mothusi Matshe
The Orchards, Pretoria


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Tags:  Readers Views

Livefyre comments on this story...

posted: 2014-07-03 15:31:50

This is brilliant. Great research, great piece

posted: 2014-07-03 15:33:48

hope safa can consider this to groom their own coach of the soil.

Blaq Hyena
posted: 2014-07-03 15:36:41

Admin of KICK-OFF please forward this letter to Danny Jordaan please

posted: 2014-07-03 15:37:35

Its good but i just dont like the fact that you mentioned Bexter !!

posted: 2014-07-03 15:38:59

Mothusi you deserve a Black Label, Is our SAfrican Beer, Your Letter Beats even the best commentators / analysis we have. You Are On Poiny and You Know Your Story BOZZA.

deleted_31084991_Neutral Fan
posted: 2014-07-03 15:43:28

Well done Mr Editor,

deleted_31084991_Neutral Fan
posted: 2014-07-03 15:45:50

Well done Mr Editor, but really which local coach can coach Bafana? The fact is we should have kept Mr Igesund

posted: 2014-07-03 15:56:45

Im sorry but I gonna throw a spanner to this kind of history-driven mentality. Lets rise to the top with whoever is on driving seat as our head coach. I dont care who won the world cup when how with who it counts for nothing. Its like being concerned about the university while you are still struggling with primary schooling.

Your put in extensive research list of winning coaches but you dont do it for AFCON winning coaches. Our immediate mandate is WINNING AFCON not winning world cup. Your Barker, Jomo, Moloto interpretation of the statistic is flawed. It was already showing downward spiral. One would argue that the 1996 momentum carried us through to the 2nd and 3rd place in 1998 and 2000. But you should have spend much of your researching time telling us about the statistic of AFCON winning coaches. 

But either way, this is nothing other than politics. Lets get a coach on board, get the players on the field, challenge teams, beat them up. The coach can come from Sri Lanka I dont care. The thing is we politic this thing so much because everyone tries to be clever. If the local coach fails we talk about development, weak PSL, if the foreign coach fails we talk about brand of football this and that. We need results now. Not talking and politics. If the coach from Palestine makes us win, then thats whats up. SAFA politics must be addressed elsewhere.

posted: 2014-07-03 15:59:32

Well said, I wish SAFA can read this and do introspection. we do'nt have football Identity. The so called Big Teams of SA do not rely on our own players. Each and every year we hear them singing that they have introduced young players from development, then the following year they sell them to lower leagues for game time. We area  pathetic nation

posted: 2014-07-03 15:59:43

well said Mr editor............they don't learn from their mistakes.......they will learn it the hard way.....

posted: 2014-07-03 16:04:05

Themba No you mix apples and oranges. Young players from development will not get automatic game time for the sake of Bafana. They have to earn the game time or face the wrath of being benched for not stepping their game up. Loan deal for them is just a way of not killing their confidence by sending them back to development where they belong. We cant promote players just for the sake of it.

posted: 2014-07-03 16:06:16

Such a long nonsense. Soccer is a business. Our biggest teams are coached by foreigners.

Double Action 7
posted: 2014-07-03 16:07:48

This article definately gives one something to think about. However, there is also a trend in African Football of European coaches wining the AFCON, what do we make of that? Bafana is not even 50 from winning a world cup. Lets start by focusing on COsafa, then Afcon and the club competitions.

posted: 2014-07-03 16:09:24

What an interesting stats which  is based on comparison which i back to differ in terms of south africa that comparison is futile given the , organisational structures , organisational culture let me break it down to you that you watch too much tv and listen to people who got no inside info in terms of running the organisation we need good Strategic Plan which will outline our long term goal which is what we want to achieve as representative of our nation takes safa for example can you tell me their long term of safa is it doable or is just a dream that will never be fulfilled, It all starts with soccer FA of the country to outline the long term plan and adopt a strategy to fulfill their strategy intend and to be competitive as part of the strategy is to ensure that the Brand is established that will need a strong Leadership to lead the organisation thats when all those doable activities are to be translated to the short term activities likes of our PSL with restriction of only allowing clubs to register only 3 foreigners only allowed to field 2 per game and ensure that there is coordination between PSL and FA and the followed by structures and cultures that we want to ingrained in our soccer as for now we dont have those things in safa and psl. PSL is our weakest link in south africa why because of leadership we have as the motive is to make money and forget about the futures of young stars and people who spend their time preparing those young stars thats when can start by talking of winning world cup even as we africans for the next 20 years there is no african country who can win world cup as long we dont have all those key things mentioned above , just in short this guy is just enthusiasts who does not apply thinking as a basic as you compare you need to start thinking of possible solution dont just raise issues and not apply thinking. 

tholokabomo-Tell no lies, Claim no easy victories
posted: 2014-07-03 16:11:01

Thus_man I hear you. Brilliant article  and I agree with everything you have said to the T. But SK is African as such an extension to us as such let him coach BB. But well said. 

posted: 2014-07-03 16:13:02

I think the writer is failing to distiguish between safa and psl. Psl is not a develpment place

posted: 2014-07-03 16:15:16

I concur with Mothusi. Its a pity that club owners, PSL & SAFA administrators won't take this into account. 

posted: 2014-07-03 16:15:57

Couldn't have said it any better, SAFA should also be working on developing coaches to the highest possible standard down to the townships coaches to really have a youth system that perfoms to the top level as possible & to the best of their abilities.

posted: 2014-07-03 16:21:56

south african style-if you watch those young boys play in the streets, they are marvel to watch. But when they do it at club level it is called a disgrace and when Neymar or Ronaldo do it, they are praised for brilliance. 

why cant they be encouraged to dribble in a way that opens up spaces and takes down defenders....like the Ibrahimis from Algeria and James Rodriques of this world. wouldnt that be fun to watch? south african wingers,strikers and midfielders playing like they have been doing from birth, taking that natural skill to the pitch like the Jomo sonos did? and you expect a Scholari to understand that, having never played in Mzanzi or let alone lived in Mzanzi??

Every country has its own brand of football that it needs to feed on and make it better for competitive purposes. A national coach has to be exactly that...a coach who knows about the Nation's way of playing.

I vote for fast attacking, Dribbling with Flair football.....i vote for a Thorough Bred South African coach for Bafana but also one who is not afraid to attack and let players express themselves and the rest will follow......

posted: 2014-07-03 16:24:00

Crystal clear-howard hewitt.mothusi help these moegoes who run safa and psl to see your point of view because many concur with it.I still say shakes deserves a space ko bafana.he unceremoniously left his post not because of failure but because safa were choosing players for him.he just won cosafa cup with amajita playing well and did that with bafana as well.what has a man got to do for real?

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