Palacios’ mission: 'No more making robots'


Orlando Pirates development academy director Augusto Palacios has outlined what he believes are the reasons the country no longer produces talented players like Jabu Pule, Steve Lekoelea and Gift Leremi.

Many of South Africa's young players can't seem to break into their clubs' senior teams or disappear soon after making their breakthroughs, and Palacios believes he knows why.

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"I think one of the pressures in my opinion for the coaches is to win the trophies and the league," Palacios tells

"It's very few clubs who's got an example of... I think Maritzburg already have two young players, SuperSport, I think Sundowns have one, do you understand? But it's nothing.

"I think the pressure is because of relegation. It's about top eight, it's about winning of the league. But you have a squad of 28 players. This means you can give opportunity in one game, you put a young player on the bench. Now the team is winning 2-0, 3-0, you give an opportunity to the boy to start playing 10, 15 minutes.

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"I believe in every 18-man squad there should be at least one player. If you don't do like this then what is the reason of having a development or MDC? I know for a fact that in this country we have talented players.

"What Kosta Papic mentioned was very important. He was lucky to have nine players, Thabang Radebe who changed his name now it's Stemmer, Lucas Thwala, Benedict Vilakazi, Lebohang Mokoena, Joseph Makhanya, the late Gift Leremi and it was Phumudzo Manenzhe, and it was on the bench Senzo Meyiwa and Kelebogile Mabe.

"We need to give opportunities. Who is to blame? I don't know. Because the officials you cannot blame, the chairmen you cannot blame, but the coaches have a responsibility to continue giving an opportunity to a young player coming from the development.

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"I've been at Pirates almost for two decades, and I believe not only me, all the coaches also in the PSL have the same ambition. No more copying the developments in Europe, we are in South Africa dealing with South African players.

"And no more making players robots. You must allow the player to express himself with discipline.

"We also need to recognise these coaches in the townships or amateur clubs who start developing in the early age. Because remember when the clubs scout, they scout from the townships."