Supa Diski slammed

Willard Katsande

Willard Katsande

Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor—
SOUTH Africa’s Premiership might be the hub in which Zimbabwe’s best players yearn to play, but the Supa Diski has been slammed for its declining standards that are now impacting on the two countries’ national teams. There have been debates on whether the league that our top players call their haven is the best they could feature in and whether it was adding value to the Warriors‘ cause. Although it offers a window for better pastures for the majority of the domestic Premiership players, it is the quality of the competition in the South African elite league that has often been questioned.

Those fighting in Supa Diski’s corner have argued that the fact that their giants Mamelodi Sundowns won the 2016 Champions League was testimony of the healthy state of the ABSA top-flight.

But this week, South African football came under the spotlight once again, with one of the longest-serving expatriate coaches Muhsin Ertugral slamming the declining standards of the league that is home to such key Warriors players like Khama Billiat, George Chigova and Willard Katsande who captained the senior team to the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Ertugral — who has had an on-off relationship with South African football — is back in the country and now in charge of modest outfit Ajax Cape Town that recently signed the Zimbabwe duo of midfielder Gerald Takwara and striker Ndoro.

The Turkish mentor told a Press conference in Cape Town after his team’s 2-1 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns in a midweek league clash that he believes the current state of South African football is getting progressively worse. Ertugral first arrived in South Africa in 1999 when he was entrusted with mentoring Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and coached former Warriors midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha and winger Kelvin Mushangazhike at Amakhosi.

In what would become an on-and-off 20-year relationship with South African clubs, Ertugral went on to guide other Absa Premiership teams including Santos, Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates. But in what was an honest post-match Press conference after the Urban Warriors’ loss to Mamelodi Sundowns earlier this week, Ertugral said he believed football in the Absa Premiership is not getting any better.

“In that side in Europe, it’s a different world out there. When I came first in 1999 to this country (SA), it was totally different football that was played. So, it’s getting more worse,” Ertugral said. I feel like sometimes coming back here it’s like the highways, you can’t follow the cars. Precision is more important. Players are getting so much money in this country they don’t know what to do with it. And they want to play in Europe, who is going to take you there?”

Ertugral explained how he helped former Cape Town City captain Lebogang Manyama get signed by Turkish side Konyaspor and revealed how the 26-year-old has been struggling to get game time. “The best player Lebo Manyama which I have put in Turkey, to Konyaspor, a great team in Turkey which are not doing very well and he’s not considered to be on the bench,” said Ertugral.

“The coach tells me, ‘What is this’? Guys, out there is not easy, tell me one South African player that plays in the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italy or in the German Bundesliga — we need to ask ourselves why not? In the 90s I don’t know how many? These are questions that need to be asked.”

Ertugral did offer some advice as to how to curb the problem. “I’m still on the FIFA technical committee and that’s what we are discussing every time,” the 58-year-old continued. In the end, what we are going to present to the coaches that they are going to do? In South Africa, it’s like you’re going to the primary school, to the university. I just spoke to a friend of mine from Freiburg, he’s the head of the academy at Freiburg. He said to me once a week the players must do a presentation on a topic.

“We can hardly talk to our (South African) players, they just listen. They don’t give feedback because they’ve been suppressed, and that’s what the problem is. It’s important to me that they need to talk, they need to be open because when the whistle blows, they need to play. They don’t want to talk to you guys (media), these elements, they need to be a little more educated and that’s our problem, the coaches’ problem.”

Ertugral received the backing of ZIFA technical director Wilson Mutekede on his evaluation of the South African game. Mutekede, who is spearheading ZIFA’s development programmes expressed concern that most of the players who had shown potential in Zimbabwe had become content with just securing a contract in the Super Diski.

The former Twalumba and Shabanie Mine coach said the fact that local players saw the Absa Premiership as their ceiling meant that the Warriors would always be exposed when they faced continental heavyweights like Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt or Algeria at such stages like African Cup of Nations tournament.

Mutekede also reflected on how the Warriors were badly exposed during the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon when drawn against the likes of Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal, the bulk of whose players ply their trade in the European leagues. “Having heard what Muhsin said I must say although it might have appeared a mouthful, I subscribe to most of what he said.

“When you are a coach you need problem solvers on the field of play and we don’t seem to see a lot of that in our players because they do not communicate as much as is needed. During my time at Twalumba we would place the players in groups every Monday to review our previous games and get them to give their own input,” Mutekede said.

Mutekede said it was saddening that the tough operating environment in the country had also contributed to the wrong mindset by local players who are just content with earning better salaries in South Africa. “There is an element of contentment than the hunger to do more on the field of play. When somebody goes to South Africa the dream to do more fades away and the hunger to go and play in Europe is lost in the bright lights of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.

“We also have a challenge where South Africa is quickly plucking some budding players from here before they have even advanced their careers. While we always live for money the duty of coaches should also be to educate players. We should also look at aiming for the bigger picture and Muhsin’s comments should be taken as an eye opener although some pundits might not agree with him,’’ Mutekede said.

Mutekede had a chance to briefly work with the Warriors for two international friendly matches last November and the former CAPS United team manager warned that as long as Zimbabwe and South Africa do not have enough numbers in the world’s top five leagues the two countries would continue to struggle in Nations Cup and World Cup assignments.

“Our best players are playing against Baroka and Free State Stars yet the likes of Riyadh Mahrez, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are playing against top quality opposition at high intensity every week and that gulf then shows when it comes to the World Cup qualifiers or AFCON.

“For me players like Thomas Chideu (Golden Arrows) and Prince Dube (SuperSport United) were flowers that were plucked by South Africa before they even turned into fruits and we are almost guaranteed that their next destination is a flight back home because as long as someone like Prince is getting paid well he might not have the hunger to play or even further his career in a bigger league,” Mutekede said.

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  • Widzo

    Saka mati zvoitwa sei coz muri kungo complainer. As long as we do not have long standing relationships with European clubs vapfana vanongoramba vachimhanyira mzansi kwavanopiwawo kamari kanokwanisa kutenga mote ne den nekuitawo tuma yellow-bone. Create relationships with those European clubs so that scouts can come straight to Zimbabwe to pluck those flowers. ZIFA must act on that not to point a finger at SAFA lol. Create an environment where these scouts are free to come to Zim. They know Zim got talent. They know Peter, Bruce Grobl, Bambo, Benjani, Musona so tell me one good reason why they do not come straight to Zim to snatch talent. Why do they go down South to even monitor Zim players. If we can answer that then lets fix it. Maybe vaitotya ma roadblock aive akawanda kunge ma cup aye a doctor amai eku conference akazoraswa kkkk. Lets look at this issue holistically

  • Moffat

    Widzo wareva. Poitwa sei kwete kungo complainer? Some players will be comfortable playing in Zimbabwe, others will be comfortable playing in South Africa. There is nothing wrong in vision mapping and passing through SUPA DISKI – they are better organised, sponsored and marketed and the players are earning decent / good salaries as compared to the ZIFA run joke of Zimbabwean soccer.

    Vabereki ivaiwo involved physically muhupenyu hwevana venyu. Kana achitamba bhora kuchikoro, kumaraini endai iwo ikoko muchiona, kukurudzira nekutsigira vana venyu nevavakidzani. Neymar, Messi, Pogba’s parents were / are involved in their children’s development to present day. Those who can and can dream that big send / take your children to eye opening soccer camps, academies all over the world – that way they get exposed to sports sciences advances in nutrition, training etc., train in first world facilities under renowned coaches and retired players. Most importantly they get a chance to network.

    What will this crop deliver:
    Tinashe Marowa (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand), Felix Metzler
    (Stuttgater Kickers, Germany), Yaser Chapfika (Vilassar De Mar, Spain),
    Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest, England), Kundai Benyu (Celtic,
    Scotland), Tinashe Chikwana (Burnley, England), McCauley Bonne (Leyton
    Orient, England), Shepard Murombedzi (Solihull Moors, England), Adam
    Chicksen (Bradford City, England), Thando Velaphi (Shonan Bellmare,
    Japan), Lucky Mkhosana (New York Cosmos, USA), Tristan Nydam (Ipswich,
    England), Kwazikeni Mpofu (Burnely, England), Cliff Moyo (Halifax,
    England), Lyle Orange (Winston, England), Leroy Munyorovi (MFK Mistek,
    Czech Republic), Salad Machemba (Vancouver White Caps, Canada), Joe
    Magunda (Leamington, England), Kelly Lunga (Bonner SC, Germany), Crispen
    Ncube (Slate Moravce, Slovakia), Tendai Chitiza (FK CSK Pivara,
    Serbia), Leon Chiwara (Livingstone, Scotland), Cecil Nyoni
    (Gainsborough, England) and Talent Ndlovu?

    And we seem to have lost Brendon Galloway (and probably more) to England

  • Gukash Kukash

    Well above all, the main idea is to earn money and earn a living,it won’t make sense if one plays for Dynamos or Caps in the PSL ,which is supposedly competitive and earn $500 a month and when you retire you hang your boots as a pauper,tese tiri kutsvaga mari Brian chero iwe i believe you are hustling big time,and also most Zimbos Doctors,Engineers,Teachers,Drivers are all living Zim for SA,So why not ……problem ye ma warriors is simply because of lack of proper and organized grass roots level soccer, there should be a PSL for under 10s,16s,20s etc and those small leagues will pump high quality players to the main PSL such that even if players leave for SA they is always a ready and abundant supply of new players and hence making spots for warriors team competitive ,therefore i blame ZIFA ,lack of sponsorship and the Economy.

  • Gukash Kukash

    KKKK so true ,no Zimbabwean Club has ever won a Continental Cup,save for Dynamos who managed to reach the finals of the African Champions League 20 years ago,but mu super Diski Orlando has done it before and Mamelodi Sundows has recently done it ,apa futi bhora remu PSL robhohwa enda unowona e.g Platinum vs How Mine ,bhora rino shata irori remu Zim

  • Tonderayi Chanakira

    Supa Diski yapedza vana Khama Billiart, Lot Chitakasha. Williard Katsande was a big flop when our Warriors played at the AFCON in Togo. The South African Super league is adding no value to developing Zimbabwean football. Rumour has it that our own Warriors star Knowledge Musona might go back to play ku Supa Diski, DIsaster chaiyo!

  • Ushe

    The Fact that Sundowns won thee CAF Champions league does not show the standards of Super Diski, but the decline of African football. That is why Sundowns were thrashed by Asian sides in the Club World Cup.

  • Ushe

    As is said in the article, players are plucked here before even maturing. They are plucked at flowering stage before fruiting.

  • Dick

    Money never kills the game Brian. Money grows the game! Seen?

  • Farther

    I think you guys you just talk too much, if one watches the games from the European leagues, under normal circumstances the Zimbabwe players would not be playing in europe still. Most of those guys are better than our current crop of players. Musona is playing kwaanokwana, same thing na Khama, and the rest. We have Zimbabwean players who grew up in europe but not one has made it to the top teams like Liverpool, why?.We just need to have professional facilities here at home and lets pay our players handsomely and enjoy them. Thats what we need to talk about. Better facilities, better benefits, better coaches. We need professional clubs in Zimbabwe and Sponsors vane mari so that we, the fans, can enjoy our players not kurotomoka kwamurikuita.