|Not invited: Farouk Khan|
FAROUK KHAN, the football guru who discovered Steven Pienaar, May Mahlangu and (most recently) Simphiwe Mtsweni, has found himself mysteriously left out in the cold by the SAFA Technical Committee.
Khan, founder of the widely respected Stars of Africa academy, claims he IS part of the committee which decided the fate of Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund a fortnight ago – but was not invited to attend. He feels politics are more important than football knowledge when it comes to South Africa’s highest footballing council.
Khan contacted me during the furore over Igesund’s report on the disastrous CHAN tournament. The Technical Committee, chaired by former Mamelodi Sundowns supremo Natasha Tchiclas, decided to let Igesund fulfil his contract until August while launching an investigation in to his part in a pre-tournament row over win-bonuses.
But Khan was not involved in that decision. He wasn’t invited to attend.
Khan, also a popular football analyst on SuperSport, explained: “It wasn’t out of choice. I was part of the SAFA technical committee when it was launched and I was informed I was on the new committee.
“The Technical Committee is meant to push South African football forward, to advise SAFA on what they should and shouldn’t do.
“For some reason I haven’t been invited to the last couple of meetings that took place. It might be something I said in previous meetings. I just wasn’t invited.
“Maybe there should have been some indication why I wasn’t getting called up any more. Surely SAFA should give you some indication of why they’ve changed their minds.
“I can only assume it’s a case of me not fully endorsing how they are going to go about the development of football in South Africa (the Vision 2022 campaign).
“It’s not possible for us to start by trying to emulate the likes of Spain and Germany. We need to start at the bottom. My point was we need to provide small academies all over the country.
“The ones we used to have, when I got back from Brazil in 1990, have gone now. We have just one real academy, in India, where I travelled recently, they have 11.
“There are so many players who came through the old system. Daine Klate. Bernard Parker. They both started off there.
“But SAFA talk about qualifying thousands of coaches, I don’t have a problem with that. But if I am on the committee I’m not going to be there just to be popular. In those days we didn’t have to go out and look for talent, it came to us.
“When we had the old academies in the provinces and in the schools, we had Boebie Williams and Cavin Johnson doing good work. I’d get these guys down on a regular basis.
“At that time we came across a lad called Pienaar. We found him at an academy in Bosmont. Cavin told me about him and I said “Bring him along”. He was 12 at the time. Now he’s playing for Everton.
“Today it’s all pie in the sky, a lot of plans being made but nothing is being implemented.
“I’ve always had a very good relationship with Gordon Igesund. He wanted a good structure. We talked about me being involved. I applied for the position of Bafana Under 20 manager, I was interviewed last year. I’m still waiting for an answer.
“The past 20 years, I’ve coached on a daily basis. I don’t need a SAFA job, I’ve got the Stars of Africa academy. People in the country know my ability.
“So many people like me have been sidelined or ignored. And here’s Bafana, can’t qualify for anything unless we’re hosting the tournament.
“Japan only started their professional league in 1993, now they qualify every World Cup, they export plenty of players to Europe.
“We as South Africans should follow suit. We have one of the best leagues, we have a strong structure… the potential brings tears to my eyes. But potential is not enough. We need to nurture this talent.
“Stop talking the talk. Start walking the walk.”
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