Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach Alex Heredia has slammed the lack of young local goalkeeper development by the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) respective clubs.
Despite the PSL boasting a number of top local goalkeepers, the national team coaches seem to face a selection dilemma for Bafana duty as the majority of the goalkeepers playing regularly at their clubs are not South African-born.
The selection of local goalkeepers has been such a headache that even those that are not playing regularly at their respective clubs have been selected, due to the lack of quality SA born keepers.
Only Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper Ronwen Williams, AmaZulu’s Veli Mothwa, Stellenbosch FC’s Sage Stephens, and Meluzi Buthelezi of TS Galaxy have commanded regular starting berths at their teams. Of late Kaizer Chiefs duo, Bruce Bvuma and Brandon Petersen have been deputising for each other, though all these goalkeepers are already above the age of 24.
Heredia, who has undertaken the training of goalkeepers at SuperSport United under four different coaches as well as the national team, has urged clubs to redirect their focus on producing young goalkeepers at an early stage in order to return to the top.
“South Africa has produced some of the best goalkeepers over the years but this has since declined,” Heredia tells ThisIsFootball.Africa.
“Well, I must say and put this clear from me that from my point of view, things are meant to progress, it’s supposed to be better. But it has not. Even though there is more money now and better faculties and better opportunities.
“Most of the people think in the past it was better. I can tell you, yes it was better in the past. But the things change and they’re getting, you know, different traits, different situations.
“We are not really, really near the top in SA, not nearly near where we should be.
With regards to the current crop of young and upcoming goalkeepers, Heredia voiced out how they are not fighting hard enough, hence being overtaken by foreigners.
“There are very few goalkeepers coming up from development, you know. When we’re talking about the likes called [Reyaad] Pietersen and Ricardo Goss, all these guys are already 27-28 years old.
“I think we still have a problem, you can see that by the amount of foreign keepers in the PSL. They offer quality and they offer the ability to do job for the clubs, no doubt about it. I don’t criticise them.
“The solution is for us to look at the very young goalkeepers, the ones that are coming up. Those that are 20, 21, and 22 years old. But really we haven’t got anyone that age whose good enough and that is not good for our football
“The quality goalkeepers, the very young ones, don’t push hard enough. And still the so-called youngsters are not young anymore. The situation is a little bit complicated,” he added.
Heredia also stressed about the abundance of a talented pool of young goalkeepers, but that their development is delayed because most coaches only focus on the first teams.
“In South Africa I conducted five or six coaching courses and I can tell you that we have the potential, the talent.
“The problem is that we haven’t got goalkeeper coaches in our youth sections. Most of the time we have goalkeeper coaches in the first teams. The first team goalkeeper coaches are are so busy that they cannot pay attention to their youth goalkeepers.
“I can tell you that we don’t t produce enough goalkeepers because the basics are not there. They don’t learn the basics properly at a young age and then as they get older it’s to late..
“Goalkeepers from a young age need specialised proper training sessions and specialised programmes. We don’t have that in the PSL academies,” Heredia said.
The 65-year-old Argentinian has in the past called for SA to adopt the same measure implemented by Egypt to ban the signing of foreign goalkeepers in the PSL. It it remains to be seen if the country’s football body will heed to the call.