‘SA FOOTBALL HAS PONTENTIAL’
By: Nhlanhla Ndlovu
Santos coach, Alexandre Macia believes that South African football is developing after his side was crowned the champions of eLan Durban under 19 International Football tournament at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Last year SAFA launched the most significant development programme in the history of South African football and eLan tournament is part of the country’s development plan.
The young Brazilian men were in Group B with SAFA under 19, the Dutch side Feyenoord and English’s Everton. The local side was only beaten by Santos. Macia said their game against South African team was tough although they managed to score four goals.
“Against us, they played very good football. Good touches, very good organisation in the field. I think South Africa is in the right way of football,” Macia told reporters after his side claimed 2-0 victory over Benfica by in the final.
The country is known of producing good players for European sides and the Santos mentor said he saw good players in both SAFA side and KZN Academy XI during the tournament.
“Especially national team have good players, with good quality, good touch of the ball, good dribbling,” Macia added.
Macia mentioned that the country needs to develop player as from 11 years old.
The losing side, Benfica coach Joao Tralhao also saw potential in young South African men after his side was grouped with KZN academy. Tralhao said the country has foundations but the kids need to be motivated to participate in the game.
“Try to give them the best conditions, prepared coaches and competitions. You can’t develop players without competitions,” he said.
Benfica showed a lot of composure in front of goals which has been a problem in the country as they scored nine goals in the tournament. Both countries’ side scored one goal and conceded five each in three games of group stages.
The Portuguese side mentor revealed that local teams were very competitive after his side narrowly beat them by 2-1 in the last day of group A encounters.
“I think South Africans have a very good potential to develop players. We (Benfica) saw very good potential in some players in KZN Academy and South Africa Under 19.”