20 April 2023 – FIFA’s Talent Development (TDS) Scheme gurus visited the SAFA headquarters in the south of Johannesburg this week for a strategic planning session as they continue building the Development framework for South Africa.

FIFA’s High Performance specialist Abdul- Faisal Chibsah believes that SAFA is on course with the TDS pilot program that was launched last year, and that South Africa’s talent needs to be nurtured and supported in order for the country to benefit from developing their own talent.

“We worked intensely on the strategic plan this week and also looked into how best SAFA can access funds from FIFA in the next cycle. We also made recommendations to SAFA that the best way for the country to improve in world football is for all stakeholders to work together,” said Chibsah.

The South African-specific strategic plan will be shared with stakeholders this week at the 31st SAFA Ordinary Congress, where their buy-in will be imperative going forward.

Chibsah also touched on the fact that it is very important for clubs and the member association to align their strategies for the benefit of South Africa as football is  a team sport, and results can only come when all stakeholders work together.

The TDS mentors also paid a visit to the U17 National Men’s Team currently in camp ahead of the 2023 CAF U-17 AFCON. They shared ideas with the technical team on how best to maximize their players abilities, especially going into such a crucial tournament, where the top three teams will qualify for the next FIFA U-17 World Cup.

FIFA TDS Coaching Manager Brais Acebal also spoke about the importance of understanding how to identify talent in young players. Acebal made the observations ahead of the SAFA/TDS U-15 Interprovincial tournament which will take place in July 2023.

“It is important to understand that identifying talent for youth has many angles to it as some players show more maturity than others at a young age. It is never a one size fits all type of a check list. There are times when a player’s strength is their selling point. At times it’s a players speed, intelligence or knowledge of reading a game,” said Acebal.

“Footballers possess many different attitudes that when  combined will bring you what is known as total football. Therefore it is important for coaches to understand their players, understand a player’s potential, strengths and weaknesses while having foresight about what a player can potentially become if they are properly developed,” concluded Acebal.