Kekana urges more be done for SA youth

Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns feels there is an urgent need to nurture the young players in provinces such as the Eastern Cape.
Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns feels there is an urgent need to nurture the young players in provinces such as the Eastern Cape.
Image: Galli Images

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana says more strides need to be made in order to nurture football talent in provinces like the Eastern Cape.

Kekana spoke to the Dispatch at the SAB League U21 National Championship’s players recognition dinner which was held at the Greyville Convention Centre in Durban this week.

Kekana said as a country, South Africa needed more talent to come to the fore in order to develop and stressed the importance of the role the SA Football Association was playing.

“We have raw talent hence we need proper coaches from townships and I think Safa [SA Football Association] needs to invest more in coaches who are there at grassroot football level ... our youngsters cannot play football to the best of their abilities, because they aren't coached well,” said Kekana.

The African champions league winner also spoke about the importance of tournaments such as the SAB League U21 champs that take place annually.

“If you look at some of the European countries – they have so many tournaments of this nature and for their players it's easy to handle the pressure once they get to the senior level.

“Because they have been exposed to these kind of tournaments and when they graduate they end being smart when they are under pressure.

“We need to make sure that we up our standards in this tournament.”

According to Kekana the SAB League which has produced the likes of Percy Tau who recently signed with Brighton and Hove Albion in the United Kingdom was a step way to the big leagues.

“This league is really a great initiative and we need to invest more in it, if it managed to produce the likes of Percy [Tau], Siphesihle Ndlovu [from Maritzburg United], then that tells the role that this SAB League is playing in our football.

“And from what I've seen in this tournament we have a lot of rough diamonds that we need to shine in order to have more quality players in the PSL and abroad as well.

“And we are excited to have played a role in Percy's career because we've helped him grow as a player and for it's a very exciting moment for everyone of us at Sundowns, especially since he's a product of the SAB League champs.”

He said another pertinent aspect to football development in provinces was taking school sport seriously. “Every kid wants to play sport and if they grow playing sports that increases their chances of succeeding in whatever sport they are playing when they are older. And the availability of equipment like boots for instance can make a huge difference in how young players take playing sport seriously.”

Kekana spoke to the Dispatch at the SAB League U21 National Championship’s players recognition dinner which was held at the Greyville Convention Centre in Durban this week.

Kekana said as a country, South Africa needed more talent to come to the fore in order to develop and stressed the importance of the role the SA Football Association was playing.

“We have raw talent hence we need proper coaches from townships and I think Safa [SA Football Association] needs to invest more in coaches who are there at grassroot football level ... our youngsters cannot play football to the best of their abilities, because they aren't coached well,” said Kekana.

The African champions league winner also spoke about the importance of tournaments such as the SAB League U21 champs that take place annually.

“If you look at some of the European countries – they have so many tournaments of this nature and for their players it's easy to handle the pressure once they get to the senior level.

“Because they have been exposed to these kind of tournaments and when they graduate they end being smart when they are under pressure.

“We need to make sure that we up our standards in this tournament.”

According to Kekana the SAB League which has produced the likes of Percy Tau who recently signed with Brighton and Hove Albion in the United Kingdom was a step way to the big leagues.

“This league is really a great initiative and we need to invest more in it, if it managed to produce the likes of Percy [Tau], Siphesihle Ndlovu [from Maritzburg United], then that tells the role that this SAB League is playing in our football.

“And from what I've seen in this tournament we have a lot of rough diamonds that we need to shine in order to have more quality players in the PSL and abroad as well.

“And we are excited to have played a role in Percy's career because we've helped him grow as a player and for it's a very exciting moment for everyone of us at Sundowns, especially since he's a product of the SAB League champs.”

He said another pertinent aspect to football development in provinces was taking school sport seriously. “Every kid wants to play sport and if they grow playing sports that increases their chances of succeeding in whatever sport they are playing when they are older. And the availability of equipment like boots for instance can make a huge difference in how young players take playing sport seriously.”

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