FOOTBALL legends Fabian McCarthy, Benedict Vilakazi, Jabulani Mendu, Matthew Booth and Stanton Fredericks believe change is crucial for Bafana Bafana to progress.
They emphasise there is a lack of continuity in the national set-up, which has prevented Bafana from building on any successes.
Bafana have been in a slump since they lifted the Africa Nations Cup (Afcon) in 1996. They are a shadow of the team that returned to international football in the 1990s with a bang.
McCarthy, Vilakazi, Mendu, Booth and Fredericks reckon the SA Football Association (Safa) should get more former players involved in order to restore Bafana’s pride.
The legends have come together to help develop football at grassroots level through the Jabu Mendu Foundation (JMF). They spoke to SunSport at Emy Casaletti’s Optimize offices in Houghton, Joburg, yesterday.
Said Fredericks: “If there is no continuity you will have a senior national team that’s unable to compete, which we are facing right now. If you look at our generation the core of the team started at Under-17, U-20 and U-23. There is no fluid transition into Bafana.”
He added: “We know that the Under-23 team that represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics (in 2000) was a solid team. If there had been continuity we would have dominated, if not won, Afcon again.
“Change needs to happen. Football decisions must be made by football people, not marketers. If we don’t have them in Safa structures, we won’t understand that an Under-12 coach must link up with U-17 and U-20.”
The legends expressed unhappiness that football politics had hampered their chance to share their experience and help Bafana.
Booth said: “All of us have played professional football for 15-20 years. I don’t like it that Safa doesn’t encourage its players to get involved in the set-up. We are out in the cold.
“I feel sometimes it’s because some of us are too outspoken. But even if I am critical I should still be welcome with my ideas. Unfortunately that’s not the way the world works.”
The legends insisted that they would not beg Safa for help to make the JMF a success.
Said Fredericks: “But it would be great if Safa joined us to change the lives of aspiring footballers.”