16 April 2018 – Former Senegal international striker El Hadji Diouf is appealing to South African football players to go and seek bigger challenges overseas, a move he says will benefit the Senior National Team.
The Senegalese who also played for Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool said the country had top players but most seemed comfortable playing in the Premier Soccer League and not go for bigger clubs overseas.
Diouf was part of the Moroccan 2026 FIFA World Cup bid representatives who visited SAFA House and South Africa on Monday, 16 April 2018.
“I always wonder why South Africa can’t dominate the continent and world but players should lead the way by seeking bigger and better challenges overseas. When you play overseas, you become hardened, get proper experience and your technical ability will be of the highest standards,” he said.
By playing overseas, the country’s Senior National Team will benefit immensely from that environment.
“I spoke to Percy Tau and asked him what he was still doing in the PSL. The boy is good to play for any team in the world including Real Madrid or any of England’s top side. The boy is quality,” he said.
“I watch South African football regularly and on the continent, this country has probably the most talented players but they seem too comfortable to stay at home instead of looking for greater challenges overseas,” added the fiery Senegalese.
Diouf said when Bafana Bafana played Senegal in the recent FIFA World Cup qualifiers; South Africa played the most enterprising football but lacked the killer punch and experience to bury their opponents.
“South Africa could easily have buried Senegal in two legs but lacked the cutting edge one gets from playing overseas. Look even countries like Uruguay, Brazil or Argentina; almost all of their players play in Europe and that is what South African players must strive to do.”
Diouf appealed for PSL players never to be too comfortable playing at home.
“South Africa players play the best football but need that international experience one only gets by playing in big European leagues. I always ask myself why there is no South African playing either in England or Spain yet the country has the most talented players. They are too comfortable playing at home; which is wrong.
“The reason why South Africa did well in mid 1990s and late 90s was because the likes of Lucas Radebe, Benni McCarthy and Aaron Mokoena etc used to play overseas and their international experience told. Tau has no reason to still be playing in South Africa. He is more talented than Sadio Mane or even Mo Salah,” concluded Diouf.