PLAYER PERSPECTIVE: SHUAIB WALTERS Follow on Twitter
Another week, another sombre start to this column.
As many of you are aware, two soccer supporters lost their lives senselessly on Saturday during a stampede at the Carling Black Label cup at FNB Stadium this past Saturday - my heartfelt condolences to the families of the two supporters.
This may not be the time, it may seem crude and may even leave a bitter taste but I think that this issue needs to be addressed.
We cannot just look to the organisers of the event, stadium management and the municipality to ensure safety and security at our football events, at some point the supporters need to take accountability for ensuring that they adhere to the rules and safety precautions of these events too.
These senseless deaths can be avoided if all parties, be it organisers and event stakeholders along with the supporters, acknowledge and take responsibility for each of their roles in ensuring that this much-loved game can be enjoyed to its fullest potential.
In other news, Caf president Ahmad Ahmad has confirmed discussions around a new timing where the African Nations Cup will be moved to June. I think this would be advantageous for PSL to have the Afcon take place in June.
Instead of a two-week recuperation period when it’s not Afcon, to almost two months of recovery time during Afcon means that teams who end the year off successfully would be able to continue that momentum by being able to continue to start playing sooner which is not the case during the Afcon year.
This also impacts the programs for fitness coaches as they would then have to make provisions for a mini preseason before the actual preseason as players could possibly lose fitness when the break is that long.
There was an interesting radio interview on one of the local radio stations earlier this week with an under 10 soccer team and their coach who were flying to Wales to compete in a tournament with Arsenal’s under 10 soccer team.
This is an amazing opportunity for these boys, particularly as most of them hail from an underprivileged community in Cape Town.
The key question that was asked was ‘what was the overall goal of this trip?’
The coach’s answer was that they need to compete at international level at their age rather than the more acceptable or standard age is 15-16 years old.
This is exactly what I believe is lacking in the professional football development - the one mistake professional clubs make by thinking that development does not start at this young age.
As seen in Europe and the rest of the world, the development age of a footballer player is not mid-teens but from an age where they can grasp the concept of formations and the basics of developing the ‘football brain’.
Therefore, education and sport development go hand in hand and should be implemented at a very young age as without the one the other will falter, as football has become a lot more scientific and calculated.
Let’s hope that Safa’s plans to implement early soccer development programs at school level will be in the very near future.
Till next week!
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