Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse says young players are important to their clubs and when a big tournament such as the U23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) falls outside of the FIFA international break, there has to be a negotiation between clubs and the SA Football Association (Safa).
Speaking to FARPost, Arendse said, “It is a difficult thing (for clubs refusing to release players) because that’s why you have the FIFA window, and there is no confusion, there’s no fighting between associations and clubs in terms of releasing players.”
Despite some Premier Soccer League (PSL) refusing to release their players, David Notoane’s boys managed to earn a draw against Zambia in their opening game on Saturday but they felt the absence of key their attacking players in Luther Singh and Lyle Foster, who have now joined the squad during the international break.
“Some of the times you have to remember that these young players are crucial players to their clubs and when it falls within game time and it is not within the Fifa window, of course, there has to be a negotiation with the club,” said the current SuperSport United goalkeeper coach.
The SA U23 side went to Egypt with 12 players and without any proper preparation for the Afcon tournament. However, the team will be expected to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics games in Japan.
“They have to try and come to an agreement,” added Arendse, who’s now a goalkeeper coach at Bidvest Wits, but also helps out in the same role in the national team.
SA’s U23 next Afcon encounter is on Tuesday against Ivory Coast at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, kickoff at 18:00.
The Cape Town-born former goalkeeper went on to highlight the importance of developing young players at the Powerade Performance Academy as one of the four expert panel of former athletes who were invited to share valuable insights to school coaches at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“South Africans are always talking that we don’t have good enough players, but it is our duty to develop those players especially at a young age and so because it is a platform that brings lots of young school coaches… it gives us an opportunity to guide them whether it is team formation, coaching technical abilities, talent scouting… help them along that whole process because when you have people working with 10-13 year olds, that’s the core ages of their development and once they miss these development years you can’t correct technical abilities,” said Arendse.