READER’S VIEW: More talent to be found in Westbury
Posted: 19 March 2014 Time: 09:55
Westbury – a predominantly coloured township known for its gang violence, poor housing and overcrowding. However, it is also famous for something a lot more positive … its ability to produce exceptional soccer talent.
At the mention of Westbury, the name Steven Pienaar usually follows close by. The Everton midfield maestro is by far the best product of the township’s streets.
In more recent years sensational prospects such as Keagan Dolly and Ryan de Jongh have followed in Pienaar’s footsteps, establishing themselves in the PSL as almost seasoned professionals.
Dolly, a Westbury Arsenal product and School of Excellence graduate, is by far the star performer for Ajax Cape Town this season, with three Man if the Match performances against Polokwane City, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns.
De Jongh, also a Westbury Arsenal product, is an integral part of the Maritzburg United midfield and has also produced a few sterling performances, most notably against League champions Kaizer Chiefs when he scored a scorcher against the country’s number one goalkeeper to earn his side a draw.
The question that should be asked then is why has a place brimming with so much talent and potential only produced three professional players in 20 years? If the likes of Pienaar, Dolly and De Jcould shape their future there then surely there must be more?
This is evident in the way he is seen working tirelessly up and down the Toffees’ left flank week in and week out in one of the toughest leagues in the world.
After much thought and consideration I came up with the following conclusion: There is a huge gap between the talented players from Westbury and the professionals in the top domestic leagues.
Many coaches and scouts are NOT making their way to the packed local soccer fields on a Saturday and Sunday to witness the exceptional talent on display for no charge at all. Call it ‘window shopping at its best’.
Instead they wait on rich, talentless kids (who probably have no interest in soccer to begin with) and their parents looking for a hobby to push time, to rock up at their clubs and offer sponsorship or money in return for regular playing time for their golden boys or girls, despite the fact that they can’t kick a ball to save their lives.
And where does this leave the young Westbury hopefuls who can’t afford to attend trials, let alone buy a loaf of bread? In most instances their dreams go up in smoke and they turn to a life of drugs and a crime to ease the pain of what could have been – a world of talent unknown to the people who need to see it most.
My urge to scouts and coaches from established clubs is to take a few hours from their busy schedules and come have a look at the talent that is Westbury. There are many Pienaars, Dollys and De Jonghs out there just waiting to be found!
By Delmain Faver (one of many aspiring footballers from Westbury who instead of turning to drugs and crime, turned to paper and a pen with the hopes of becoming a journalist)