30 June 2015 – I am pleased to have agreed to a deal in principle to serve as Safa’s technical director for the next five years. Taking on the role is a considerable challenge but one which I am looking forward to fulfilling.
It was a significant decision I had to make – I will be relocating to Johannesburg – and I’m grateful to Safa for affording me the time to mull over the decision. After taking a few days to consider the offer and the accompanying expectations, I said ‘yes’ because I feel the timing is spot on for both parties.
I believe I’m the best candidate for the position because I’ve coached at all levels of the game in South Africa. I hold a Pro coaching licence and was involved in the establishment of the School of Excellence back in 1994, which produced Steven Pienaar. In addition, I’ve been part of SAB’s Search for the Superstars of Tomorrow programme, and have worked with schools courtesy of Powerade.
I have gained perspective and have an idea of what I want achieve but it’s now about discussing said vision and devising a plan of action with the relevant role players and then taking it that step further.
The implementation process is now ready to take place and that’s where I come in as a football man.
One of my early ideas is to appoint technical directors at provincial level to share the workload because one man simply cannot do all the work. I believe a collaborative effort will assist us in achieving our master plan. I will look to include ex-players and legends of South African football, such as Shaun Bartlett and Lucas Radebe, where possible because they have invaluable knowledge to impart. But, it doesn’t mean that former players will be afforded a free ride – they must work diligently and demonstrate their contribution to SA football in order to stay on my team.
I will also tap into the experiences of my predecessor Fran Hilton-Smith, who previously occupied the position. In fact, I have already given Fran a call and she is currently at the Fifa’s Women’s World Cup in Canada. The initial stages of my job will be about gathering as much information as I possibly can.
In terms of my mandate, which is wide, women’s football is on the agenda along with overseeing grass roots youth development, junior and senior national teams, establishing and implementing national competitions and improving upon programmes for coaches and referees in South Africa.
PRIORITISING KEY AREAS TO BENEFIT SOUTH AFRICAN FOOTBALL
While Safa can be assured that I will leave no stone unturned and will work hard, I believe I will also need to work smart. The fact of the matter is that I will need to prioritise certain key areas in order to benefit South African football at large. There is no way I can jump into all areas at once and expect anything to happen. As mentioned, I will sit down with the respective role players but, at this moment, I can state with certainty that youth development is a big issue that needs to be addressed.
Moreover, high performance centres and provincial and national academies need attention and implementation. Meanwhile, the coaching of coaches is also imperative in order to build a broader base of competent mentors who can develop and polish talent. I’m of the view that if we increase the number of quality coaches in this country, we can then improve the fundamentals of our game.
In closing, while I will offer my assistance to senior national team coach Shakes Mashaba, if and when required, I must reiterate that in no way will I interfere with Shakes’ role – that is not my job description. I will be available to him if he wants to bounce ideas off me but that is as far as it goes.