‘SAFA need a proper plan if Bafana are to succeed’


The South African Football Association (SAFA) needs a proper, long-term plan if the national team are to achieve any level of success.


That is according to Matthew Booth, the former Bafana Bafana centre-back and captain of the Under-23 side which qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games and beat a Ronaldinho-led Brazil side in the group stages.


South Africa have struggled to qualify for major competitions in recent years, let alone be competitive in them, and Booth believes a lack of planning is a major reason for that.


“SAFA must come with a vision similar to the one they signed off with when we tried to qualify for the [2000] Olympics,” the 43-year-old told The Sowetan.


“The most important thing is that we had six years building up to Vision 2000, and many of us had opportunities after the Olympics to go to better clubs locally or overseas.


“There are national teams who have qualified for Olympics since then, but the six-year plan that SAFA signed off with hasn’t been replicated since.


“All successful teams need time together and with us we started with the Under-20s and qualified for the African Youth Championships, where we finished second in Morocco in 1997. We then qualified for the Under-20 World Cup in Malaysia.


“Those kinds of experiences build the team and this needs to be replicated again. There must be some kind of plan put in place or a vision, and that hasn’t been done since then. We had spent so much time together and that has never been replicated again at SAFA, and I cannot understand why.”


SAFA had launched a ‘Vision 2022’ after the failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, where some of the milestones decided upon was for Bafana to break into the top 20 in world rankings, and to progress beyond the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar.


Right now, long-suffering South African football fans will settle for just qualifying ...


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Class of 2000

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