Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Bafana masterplan for 2018: This is the word of Gord

The way ahead: Igesund and squad
No point in being clever here. I'm just going to quote Gordon Igesund when it comes to the "2018 South African Masterplan" he unveiled to the SAFA technical committee on Friday morning.

Everybody I've spoken to said it was one of the most impressive presentations they'd seen in the game. A real, long-term plan for Bafana Bafana. Farouk Khan, a man who knows a thing or two about football development, described it as “something I’ve never seen from a Bafana manager before.”

We had a long talk with Gordon on SportsTalk on Talk Radio 702 and Cape Talk 567 with Udo Carelse. There's no point in me adding my comments.


"It’s actually very simple, I had to put through a proposal suggesting the right way for us to go. 

“We had five players in our squad who played for the South African youth teams. The great football teams in the world have 22 of their 23 who progress through the Under 19 and Under 21s.

“This is the way we have to go with our squad. Our players have to be trained and programmed to play the system the way the national team plays.

“We have to do much, much better with our development. The Under 17 and Under 19 coaches have to buy in to our senior system.

“We’ve been through difficult times. We’re trying to get a quick fix sometimes, we’ve had so many national team coaches.


“The World Cup coach we had didn’t have wingers. The next coach wanted to play another way. The style, the system is changing too much. We have to buy in to a system we can identify with. For the next six years we have to stick to a certain style. The coaches must teach our players to use that system, that style.

“So when you get a player from the Under 23 team to the national team, he will fit in completely.

“Development can’t be done in one year. It takes 10 years, 15 years. The kids don’t have enough time to adapt. We really have to apply our minds, make sure we stick to this philosophy for the next ten years.


“A week ago I was supposed to sit down with the president of SAFA but I ended up in hospital with an appendix. I’m not in a big rush to sign a new contract. I’m getting huge support, the new contract will happen.

“Indications are that it is exactly what they want. It will be no problem.

“I want a team that squeezes the opposition. We want to play 4-3-3 with three strikers, one very attacking midfielder. Against Mali we were outstanding, and Morocco. We had more possession, more attacks than any other team in the competition.

“We have great youngsters coming through, Mahlangu, Furman, Serero. This is not something new, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates play like this. Possess it, move forward quickly, don’t give it away. The blueprint is out there, as time goes on, people are going to be able to identify South African football.

“This is not a Gordon Igesund brand of football. This is South African. Like you can identify Dutch or German football.  We’ve got to hone it, play attractive football.

“We have to identify players too. We had a bit of a problem. Too many similar players up front. We have to develop it in our Under 17 team, show a striker how to play with his back to goal.

“We were the highest scoring team in our group at AFCON, not bad for a team that couldn’t score goals before the competition.

“You can’t expect to score goals if you only push forward three or four times in a game. For a team that hadn’t won in years in the AFCON, we changed things. That’s where we want to get to.


“High pressure. Sprinting. Stop, start. But we weren’t fit enough. I realised that was our problem. Our players have the fitness to run the Comrades Marathon but not the anaerobic fitness, the stop-and-start ability to keep going.

“That’s not naturally in our make-up. The short stuff. The 10m sprints. We’re not genetically built for that. It’s something we have to learn.

“We’ve been out of world football for far too long. We need to get it right from an early age.

“Our youngsters have to be able to play this way, a pressing game. Against Mali, we started to tire, we weren’t tight… they scored. And they won on penalties.

“We can produce world class players again. Look at our history. In the Confederations Cup, we held Spain. We’ve played the top teams in the world.

“The last 10 years or so, there’ve been so many changes. Too many short term fixes. Whether Gordon Igesund or Joe Soap is in charge, we have to develop our philosophy, work on that.

“In ten years from now, we’ll see a huge difference. Anaerobic training from a young age. Dean Furman and May Mahlangu, both playing in Europe, ran 15 and 16km in a match. Most only do 12km. And they were able to do 50 to 60 sprints, local players could only do 10 or 20 sprints.

“Tactically, we can’t play a squeezing game with our local players. We have to start scientifically get our players to a level of fitness. From an early age.


“Our junior coaches, our Under 17 and Under 21 coaches, we all need a common goal. Spain, Portugal, Germany… their squads, of the 23, each had 22 who had come through Under 17, Under 21. Each trained to play a certain way.

“My squad had 14 players who have never seen a South African youth team.

“We need to have the best coaches in there, people who have played football, know the game, able to work.

“Whether it’s me or somebody else, as head coach, I need to tell all the other coaches how we’re going to do it. For Under 20, for Under 23.

“Then all of a sudden we’re on the same page. This is hugely important.

“I’ve only just unveiled my master plan. I can’t reveal it all. There are a lot of names I’ve mentioned, people I’d like to work with. I know the coaches of want, of course I do. But it’s a bit early to name names.”

And there it is. In tablet form. The word of Gord.

This article appeared as my Neal & Pray column in The New Age this week. You can follow me on twitter at @nealcol, watch me on eTV Sunrise and eNCAnews every Monday - or simply go to www.702.co.za every night of the week, where I produce SportsTalk with Udo Carelse.

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