Neil Tovey: Playing overseas does not make you better than those playing locally

The former Bafana skipper is confident football in the country is heading in the right direction

The South African Football Association’s (Safa) technical director Neil Tovey says they are pleased to see more young players moving abroad and the country's junior national teams qualifying for major international tournaments.

The former Bafana Bafana skipper was speaking to Goal after Amajita recently booked their ticket to the Fifa U20 World Cup amid a recent influx of talented young players moving abroad. 

“It is good we have players going to overseas clubs, we are happy as Safa. It will help with their development and we are confident we will have more numbers going forward," Tovey told Goal.

Neil Tovey

“You need to work hard because it doesn’t mean by playing overseas you are better than those playing at home. So just take the opportunity and work hard,” he urged.

In addition, Amajita registered their very first bronze medal at the now concluded U20 Africa Cup of Nations.

“It is good we are having a number of our junior teams playing in world tournaments and big stages, the more World Cups we play, the better for us," continued Tovey.

“We always have different players and teams at these major tournaments and it is good for our boys, they are growing up and getting experience. Qualifying for these tournaments means they create pathways for them to be scouted easily as well,” he added.

“We hope to see these players graduating into the senior team and ensuring that they continue to grow into fully fledged international players,” he expressed.

“It’s always a dream for any player to play at the world stage and they must go there and express themselves. My friend, I cannot tell you how do we help them become South African legends, they are moving to overseas from their clubs, Safa has nothing to do with their movements,” said Tovey.

Neil Tovey

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Meanwhile, Tovey further revealed that they are yet to discuss the mandate with Thabo Senong ahead of the upcoming global showpiece event.

"We still need to see the World Cup draw before talking about our mandate,” he responded.

“We have a plan but we cannot talk about it because we need to know which teams he will face there. That’s when we can talk about our plans and mandate,” concluded the director.