England's fall down the football ladder is in many ways similar to the fate South Africa has suffered over the last 15 years.
Since winning the World Cup in 1966, England have achieved very little. The same could be said of Bafana Bafana after they won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.
Yet fans of both countries feel the respective teams have a God-given right to be considered powerhouses, if not in world football then at least on their own continents.
Back home it is only in the last three or four years that the penny has finally dropped: Bafana cannot be considered in the same ilk as the likes of Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon, and we cannot take it for granted that we should cruise to victory over the likes of Niger, Sierra Leone, or indeed Botswana and Ethiopia.
But despite the writing being on the wall, South Africa, like England, keep repeating that interpretation of insanity: trying the same thing but hoping to get different results.
Hoping that national pride and a bit of luck will somehow bring glory. Or hoping that a new coach will turn water into wine.
We are not getting to the root of our problems – a lack of proper development structures – not only for players, but for aspiring coaches.
We need bright young minds who can identify and nurture talent, to ensure players like Edward Manqele, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Vuyisile Wana are not 'discovered' at the ages of 22, 23 or 24.
We need young coaches who are schooled in our own, yet-to-be-developed football blueprint, so that all over the country we have thousands of mentors singing from the same hymn sheet, unlike the haphazard, ad-hoc systems we currently have in place.
Spain are considered by many as the world's best team right now. And Germany would also comfortably make it into the top five in most people's books.
So consider these facts: there are currently 34 790 coaches in Germany holding Uefa's B, A and Pro badges. The number in Spain is 23 995, and just 2 769 in England.
Germany didn't get to their current position overnight: 14 years ago they lost 3-0 to Croatia in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup, went down to England at Euro 2000 and were thrashed 5-1 by the same opponents at home in Germany in 2001.
Action was taken. The Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB) instructed clubs in the top two divisions that they would not have their licences renewed unless they established an academy. And those with academies had to fall in line with certain standards.
Today the number of Germans under the age of 23 and featuring regularly in the top flight in Germany is 15% – an increase of 9% from 10 years ago. And the national team is again a respected force on the world stage.
The concept, or the solution, is thus simple: develop coaches, who in turn will develop young players.
To this end England have recently established St George's Park, a national football coach's centre. But in the words of an ex-England player, they are not expecting results for 15 to 20 years.
That's a long time to wait, so the sooner Safa and the PSL start playing ball together, and set up the required coaching centres and improve upon our development structures, the quicker Bafana Bafana can rise again.
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