Danny Jordaan excited by progress of men's and women's national teams
Posted: 27 June 2017 Time: 09:41
SAFA president Danny Jordaan believes South African football is on the right track, judging by the progress of junior and senior men's and women's national teams.
Jordaan has lauded the historic African Nations Cup qualifying victory achieved by Bafana Bafana over long-time rivals Nigeria earlier this month, as Stuart Baxter lead his charges to a convincing 2-0 win in Uyo.
"These are exciting times for South African football. We beat Nigeria in Nigeria and it could easily have been by a far bigger margin but it was a massive win nonetheless," said Jordaan.
"I think this history and fear of playing against Nigeria has been dismissed, after the boys gave a good account of themselves, and that is a significant first match for our qualifications for 2019 AFCON.
"We now have to play Libya and Seychelles, and if we win those matches then we will have a foot in the door for the [final tournament in Cameroon]."
While the flagship team have shown progress in recent months, following on from their 2-1 victory over Senegal in their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in November last year, the junior teams have also shown improvement by qualifying for World Cup and Olympic finals in their respective age groups.
Jordaan also highlighted the consistency of the senior women's national team, whose qualification for continental and Olympic tournaments has bolstered hopes for a maiden Women's World Cup appearance.
"We must also not forget that our under-17 and under-20 teams qualified for the World Cup, while our under-23 team went to the Olympics," he added.
"These are the players that are coming through and this translates into a new dawn for South African football, not just at the level of our men’s national teams but also on the side of our Women’s teams.
"Banyana Banyana qualified for the Olympics and also two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in 2014 and 2016, and they are now preparing for the 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
"Bafana are working hard towards qualifying for Russia, which I feel we stand a good chance [of doing]. If we get a home and away victory against Cape Verde we will be on 10 points, then we play Burkina Faso at home before our last match against Senegal, and by then I am sure things should be clear of our prospects of us going to Russia.
"All of this is a result of hard work at grassroots level."
Jordaan feels the net for unearthing young talent has been widened, and hopes the new partnership with La Liga wlll result in further opportunities for aspiring professionals to go on and ply their trade abroad.
"We recently went to Kuruman where we saw some extraordinary talent. A young goalkeeper and in field players were spotted by u-17 coach Molefi Ntseki and has called them up to the national team," he said.
"Our agreement with the recent partnership with LaLiga creates opportunities for talented young South African players to be placed with some of the best clubs in Spain. So, I certainly hope that one or two of those players get the opportunity to train with one of the best teams in the world in Spain.
"This is going to be a miracle for these boys who come from Northern Cape towns of Kuruman and Kathu and make their communities proud and this is what football should do, create opportunities for young talented South Africans.
"The point that is made is that these players come from different corners of the country. Rivaldo Coetzee comes from Kakamas and now we have three other players we have identified from there and I am very happy that former players like Fabien McCarthy, Stanton Fredericks and Arthur Zwane as well as coaches such as Molefi Ntseki came to such areas to unearth talent.
"This is the basis on which we want to build our national teams. We are hopeful that both our under-20 team women's team and Banyana Banyana will qualify for [their respective] World Cups, which will be a significant step for women’s football in South Africa."