Bartlett: Radiopane’s future was hindered, why South Africa is failing

Was Radiopane given a raw deal at Orlando Pirates? Bartlett

South African football forwards have been struggling to score goals prolifically, so we take a look at what’s to blame for this trend in the PSL.

With 22 matches played in the DStv Premiership so far, not a single player has reached double figures in the PSL. Is this acceptable? 

Should we be concerned that only a few have reached nine goals already? 

ThisIsFootball.Africa got an exclusive interview with Bafana Bafana legend Shaun Bartlett to discuss the matter, and he also criticises the way his Cape Town Spurs player Boitumelo Radiopane was treated at Orlando Pirates.

“It is always a concern when players cannot hit double figures in double the amount of games played already,” Barlett told ThisIsFootball.Africa.

‘In Europe, the players generally go in the opposite direction of scoring more goals in fewer games. It shows our inconsistency either of selecting players for matches, or the inability or quality of our strikers we currently have plying their trade at the highest level of football in South Africa. We should definitely be concerned with it as it will indirectly impact Bafana Bafana when we’re looking to qualify for either AFCONs or World Cups.”

Bartlett scored 24 goals in the Premier League whilst representing Charlton Athletic. Making his debut for Bafana Bafana in 1995, he went on to bag 28 goals before his retirement.  

“I also find that clubs tend to look at the more experienced or proven players (past performances) that hinder the next generation from breaking through,” continued the former Kaizer Chiefs forward. 

Here the current Cape Town Spurs coach is referring to situations like that of Radiopane, a Pirates loanee who had hit the ground running at Athlone Stadium by scoring five goals in four appearances after returning from injury. 

Before this, he scored 25 goals in the DStv Diski Challenge for the Buccaneers, and he was even crowned the player of the season but was not given a proper opportunity at Orlando Pirates. Instead, he was loaned out to Spurs and more foreign players were signed that are currently underperforming.

“Partly yes, I am referring to Radiopane,“ added the former FC Zurich striker.  

“But like you indicated, we tend to sign average foreigners and not internationals that add value to our league. Hence in England especially, it’s very difficult to get a work permit if you’re not better than the locals.”

Bartlett then provides examples and solutions as to how we can rectify the problem from a coaching point of view. Giving reference to his former Bafana teammate Benni McCarthy and the great work he is doing at Old Trafford, in a role we in South Africa don’t really fulfil at our local clubs.  

“Not many players do specialised training regarding their craft, whether it may be as a striker, midfielder or defender. Every position has specific needs and attributes to enable you to be the best player you can be.

“I know a lot has been said about Benni at Manchester United and the impact he has had, which shows again that we need more individualised training sessions with players but also players taking more pride in their work while showing the desire necessary to succeed.

“Why is it that only the goalkeeper has a coach designated in team dynamics but no other positions seem to be more focused or paid attention to? Every position is specialised in its own way.”

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