With the standard of football improving and competitiveness slowly getting to high levels, calls for integration of lower leagues are getting louder.
South Africa football only has two professional leagues (Dstv Premiership and GladAfrica Championship) and the lower structures are regarded as amateur football.
With the level so low and admistration of football in the country a challenge on many aspects, a lot of people have called for the third tier of South African football to be professionalised, in order to have a large pool of players to choose from for national teams and also help players to understand the significant dynamics of football.
At the moment the third tier which is sponsored by Motsepe Foundation is only played in provinces and that limits the players’ growth according to some coaches.
Dabeka Sporting FC coach Sheldon Roux from the KwaZulu Natal ABC Motsepe League is of the opinion that the national team’s struggles are also caused by having just two professional leagues and a few players to choose from.
“You know if we have PSL, Division one and Division two, that’s how it should be, we are Division two if you look at it, we are the third tier in the country.
“They should break it down now, like what they did with the first division where it becomes two leagues, Inland and Coastal stream and then eventually it becomes one, we need that,” he stated.
“That’s how it’s gonna help Bafana Bafana, now they didn’t qualify for Afcon and then we start blaming the coach, we blaming everybody. It’s called development and we need to focus on developing our players, like Belgium did, like how USA planned their development,” said Roux.
Meanwhile, Muzi King Masters coach Phelelani Mpangase thinks that South African football is falling behind in terms of football growth, compared to other nations that have about four or five professional leagues.
“To be quite honest with you I believe here in South Africa we are way behind in terms of football and its dynamics,” said Mpangase.
“If you look at England first of all Dean Furman played in league two in England, they have Premier League, they have the Championship, they have League One and then League Two.”
“Then if you convert it to ours it means that’s SAB Regional League but look at the standard, it’s too high because it’s under EPL,” said Mpangase.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns left back reckons the ABC Motsepe League should be integrated into one league instead of nine provinces and get rid of play-offs.
“I believe that when time goes on they need to transform ABC Motsepe League to be one league, we must be able to travel around all nine provinces so that players can learn to play in different playing conditions and familiarize themselves with traveling so that when they get to PSL they don’t struggle.
“I think they need to sit down and sort thins thing out because the level in this league, especially this season is too high, the only problem is officiating.
“You must take into account that we must always start with five under 23 players, it does not show because I believe all the teams they manage to drill their players into the system,” added Mpangase.
By Wonga Sirayi
FARPost’s KZN Reporter