Tovey bemoans tournament cancellation
Posted: 28 July 2017 Time: 21:06
SAFA Technical Director Neil Tovey feels it is a major blow that the Durban Under-19 International Tournament was canned this year.
Set to take place this month, the annual event was cancelled - a great shame according to Tovey as the event has seen plenty of talent unearthed over the years.
The tournament was in line with SAFA's Vision 2022 as the national U-19 team, who lost in last year's final to English Premier League side Arsenal, were set to participate.
Also set to feature were the KZN academy who have provided so many players with a stepping stone to Europe and big local teams in recent times.
During the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea in June this year, Orlando Pirates defender Sandile Mthethwa and Thabo Cele - who has since been signed by SL Benfica on a five-year deal - were two players formerly of the KZN Academy that were called up by coach Thabo Senong.
They were also part of Stuart Baxter's Bafana Bafana side that turned out in the COSAFA Castle Cup in the North West Province.
Tovey, who was last week in Morocco for the CAF symposium in Rabat, feels the cancellation of the tournament has robbed the youngsters and South Africans an opportunity to showcase their skills.
"This tournament that was unduly cancelled has produced a numbers of young players and it helped them to develop their game enormously," Tovey said at a press conference in Durban.
"Without international competition we cannot reach the area of where we want to go from the technical performances, so these tournaments have produced youngsters that have gone and plied their trade in the international market and are benefiting our Under-17, our Under-20 and Under-23 national teams.
"You just have to look at where we've gone to in the last little while in the last two years with our Under-17 national team qualifying for the World Cup, Under-20s at the latest World Cup in South Korea in June and our Under-23 men's team and Banyana Banyana were at the Olympics. We were the only country on the continent to have both representatives teams men and women teams last year in Brazil at the Olympics.
"Bafana Bafana are starting to get their acts on board now and if you look at the make-up of the tournaments that they have been playing and the caliber of players that have come to the Bafana Bafana team you see they are coming from the much younger age that are now starting to ply their trade in the senior national team as well.
"So it gives us a bigger group of players to have a look at and this KZN Academy has a had a huge role to play in our technical development plan. And without these earmarked and without these academies, we cannot achieve where we want to go from the South African Football Association's perspective."