A lack of South African players abroad is a major problem, admits Safa technical director Neil Tovey

The former Amakhosi defender believes that a lack of desire to play abroad is having a negative effect on the national team

Safa technical director Neil Tovey has criticised South African player’s lack of desire to go abroad for the nation’s footballing woes.

Over the year’s there has been a decline in the hunger of SA players to go abroad, due to the healthy pay packages and home comforts that they can enjoy in the PSL. While there are players in France and Portugal, South African football cannot even boast a single player in the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga or German Bundesliga currently.

One of South Africa’s most notable football exports has been Andile Jali, but even he after an impressive spell in Belgium is closing in on a return to the PSL. But while the return of Jali has been highly anticipated, this could be seen as negative for South African football.

“Well that is what I believe is one of our major problems. At this moment in time it is that our players are too comfortable at home in the PSL. They don’t want to go challenge themselves overseas for various reasons,” the Bafana Bafana legend told members of the media at the launch of Banyana Bayana’s Limitless campaign in conjunction with sponsors Sasol on Tuesday.

Tovey who captained Bafana to continental glory in 1996, believes that while there is quality in the local league, having players plying their trade abroad can only bode well for the country’s football.

“Whilst our league and the PSL is of a high quality - it is a very efficiently run league, but the challenges of the European leagues gives them much more opportunity to better themselves and I believe that’s why our national team are not doing as well as they should, as they are not challenging themselves enough,” Tovey criticised.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana are preparing to compete in the Cosafa Cup, and Tovey is optimistic with the way things are going.

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“It’s a new era for Bafana, the last little while it hasn’t gone well for Bafana Bafana, so why not get a whole new fresh approach with a little bit of experience and let’s see what goes,” Tovey said when asked about the squad that Stuart Baxter had chosen for the tournament. 

“Obviously, it’s difficult because you can't choose the whole crop that you want because there’s players resting, there’s players playing in the play-offs, but it gives an opportunity for the players to once again show what they are worth,” he concluded.