There’s a lot of football talent in the Eastern Cape but it needs to be nurtured, so it can make an impact on the top-tier of SA football, Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Copa Coca-Cola ambassador and former Mamelodi Sundowns, Platinum Stars and Bafana Bafana striker Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo told the Saturday Dispatch yesterday the province was in fact raining talent, when it came to football, but a lack of infrastructure meant it was not being developed.
“I have seen many boys playing in the Eastern Cape and they have the potential to make it in the PSL.
“They just need to be nurtured so they can grow and join the big leagues or even play abroad,” he said.
“If the boys in the province could be provided with the right environment to play football, they can compete with Gauteng,” said Marumo.
He said aspiring football players should play more games in order to better their skills even though they have less resources than their Gauteng counterparts. “As a soccer player its important that you work at your skill so you can master it.
“And that speaks to the issue of lack of infrastructure and support like qualified coaches in the province,” he said.
“Players in Joburg might look like they are better than players from other provinces because of the infrastructure they are exposed to at a very early stage of their football careers and the environment they play in.”
He stressed the need for local clubs to play more regularly and that the private sector could assist in addressing some of the challenges faced by the sport in the province.
“These kids cannot be coaching themselves, they need proper guidance from qualified coaches.
“Banks for instance can do better than they are currently doing now.
“We need all of them to come forward to assist football development so this sport can flourish,” he said.
Marumo said private companies should invest more money in football even though they did not have enough confidence in the associations. “We need the private sector to plough more funding into soccer especially in our rural areas, but they have no confidence in our associations.
“Associations need to be accountable and be transparent so they can be able to instill confidence in private sector,” he said.
Simba also spoke about the Copa Coca-Cola which is a schools tournament, emphasising the importance of an education to youngsters who play sport.
“Players should start at school and take school very serious, because school and sport go hand-in-hand.
“If you don’t play sports you can not achieve your maximum potential and at the same time if you only play sport it’s a big problem.
“Because these two supplement one another,” he explained.
He continued to say “a complete human being is a human being that plays sports and goes to school because that’s what helps you to be complete so you also a spiritual being so there’s all these levels of human existance,” he said.
He strongly recommended that young people should complete an educational qualification before playing at professional level.
“When you play football or other sport you become an inspiration to many people and when you reach the highest levels of playing that leadership is important.
“And you must partner it with education because it complements sports perfectly,” he said.