Radebe calls for reforms in South African football

Former national team captain, Lucas Radebe, has called for reforms of the ‘politics involved’ in South African football.

The former Leeds United centre back, 54, made his international debut against Cameroon in 1992 in the country’s first post-apartheid match.

Radebe also led the side at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, but believes the exclusion of former players is adding to the decline in the country’s fortunes since hosting the global event in 2010.

“Most of us who have played the game are not involved in the structures of the game,” Radebe told the BBC’s Africa Daily podcast.

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“Obviously, with the politics that is involved in the game, it becomes very stressful for individuals like us to get involved in the game and make sure that the game continues to improve in the country and we sustain that.

“We can’t have a great team in 1996 and have a great – a better team – in 2010, but then after that, with all the facilities that we have, it becomes a big problem.”

Radebe spent 11 seasons in the Premier League with Leeds and appeared 70 times for BafanaBafana.

In 1996, Radebe helped his country to the Africa Cup of Nations, hosted in South Africa, but that remains their only continental title.

“We have to restructure to see the great BafanaBafana coming back. We’ve got the talent, you can see but we can’t sustain it,” added Radebe.

“We’re not consistent enough to be able to say that we can compete now and get to that level.

“We see players that are on form playing for Bafana Bafana – well, if they’re on form, they’re not being chosen, which doesn’t bring stability to the national team.

South Africa had been one of the four original teams that formed the first Africa Cup of Nations, but were disqualified due to apartheid.

Following their 1996 victory they were losing finalists to Egypt in 1998 and won the third placed play-off, beating Tunisia on penalties, in 2000.

Radebe believes the subsequent years have been a dramatic underperformance – including when hosting the event again in 2013 – from a side that should be a major team on the continent.

“There’s no proper development, where you can get the local players getting involved in football and locally because there’s no scouts,” Radebe continued.

Radebe points directly to Uganda goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns, as a prime example of the type of player that South Africa needs to attract.

“As long as we have the quality, I don’t have a problem with that,” Radebe said. “But we can’t have players that are not going to improve our game.

“It’s easy for us to point fingers. Yes, it’s true that we should empower ourselves but, again, we need the help of our association. –BBC

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