South African soccer star loses cancer battle

Former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder John “Shoes” Moshoeu, 49, died yesterday after a prolonged battle with stomach cancer.

His agent Glyn Binkin broke the news on Twitter.

Moshoeu was one of the top players during Bafana Bafana’s triumphant Africa Cup of Nations in 1996. He was capped 73 times for South Africa and scored eight times.

The South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula passed condolonces to Moshoeu’s family and football fraternity.

  He began his career in Diepkloof with local football club Blue Whales before joining Kaizer Chiefs. He was one of Kaizer Chiefs’ most valuable players from 1988 to 1993.

In May 2014, Moshoeu hung up his boots after spending several seasons with third-tier side Alexandra United. South African soccer stars and fans have expressed their grief on twitter.

OPINION: SAFA-South African Football Abusers

Luca Kotton, former academy player at Platinum Stars, Junior national player and current academy coach at Balfour Park Alexandra.

Luca Kotton, former academy player at Platinum Stars, Junior national player and current academy coach at Balfour Park Alexandra. Photo: TJ Lemon

No single association in South Africa has taken the responsibility to solve the problems we face in South African football. With current uncertainty over the position of Bafana Bafana coach, Luca Kotton, Wits Vuvuzela journalist and a soccer player, weighs in on the crisis in South African soccer.

The issues

Our current football leadership structures remain in disarray, with not enough time and effort being put into developing young talent across the country. The once successful School of Excellence is a shadow of its once very capable hands that saw the likes of Steven Pienaar being produced. This is an abuse to a country whose football talent far exceeds others. Football leadership is a vital part of our country succeeding on an international level. In many other countries pride is taken in developing their national youth soccer teams whereas, in South Africa national youth soccer teams are almost nonexistent. When compared to other higher internationally ranked sporting codes such as rugby and cricket, school soccer is clearly on the back foot.

[pullquote align=”left”]”The problem is everybody knows the problems but whose going to fix it. Let’s not talk, talk, talk, and let’s do it.” [/pullquote]

These issues extend to the highest organisational levels where the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and SAFA (South African Football Association) fail to see eye to eye in many circumstances. One of the consequences of the lack of synergy between these two key organisations is the repeated drama clubs not releasing players for internationals like the African Nations Cup. But where do we go from here? Who is the right person for the job?

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt, who has often been rumored to step into the national coaching job by media, said there was a need for football associations to take a more proactive stance. “It was needed 20 or 30 years ago, the problem is everybody knows the problems but whose going to fix it. Let’s not talk, talk, talk, and let’s do it. We need people who know what they doing and the problem is do they know football,” he said.

Possible solutions

Local academy coach Daryn Patricio, who is linked with the Dutch football association (KNVB), said the Dutch system advocate linear thinking between all coaches and all members associated with the KNVB. “The Dutch Federation has a very simple way of thinking, you help me and I help you. The Dutch have two important parts to their success. First, they have a coach’s database, where amateur coaches can interact with the national team coach. The second is that each coach needs to re-take his or her coaching license every three years.

Failure to do so results in the license being revoked. The system works because it keeps the whole of the Dutch football community on the same page. This way of thinking would aid our national team because all our coaches would be on one similar path, instead of everyone trying to outdo each other.

SAFA needs to carefully think about their next move in terms of coaching and youth soccer development. A clearly defined youth program is needed if we aspire to be at the levels that Brazil displayed at FNB stadium on March 5 when they beat Bafana Bafana 5-0. For the sake of all the talented youngsters playing on the streets, in townships and school grounds, let’s hope the new SAFA can do justice to our future football stars.

U-19s seek Danish double

Dancing shoes: Bidvest Wits under 19s prepare for a tournament in Denmark.

Dancing shoes: Bidvest Wits under 19s prepare for a tournament in Denmark. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

BIDVEST Wits’ under-19 football team jets off to Denmark this Sunday to test their mettle in two international tournaments.

The academy team was invited by Danish giants Brondby IF to take part in the two-day competition, as well as the Lyngby Cup.

Head coach, Ashley Makhanya, says they are looking to do well in their third appearance at the Brondby Cup.

The team achieved second place in 2011 and then went on to clinch the cup in 2012 with some breathtaking performances that saw them score a total 34 goals on their way to victory.

SAFA develop plan not happening

The team’s performances are all the more impressive considering South Africa has no national under-19 league and, perhaps as a consequence, the national under-20 team is largely inactive and spends very little time playing competitive games.


Despite hugely publicised promises by the South African Football Association (SAFA) to reinvest 2010 World Cup profits into grassroots football and development structures, administrative bungles and infighting have prevented the good intentions turning into action.


On Monday The Times newspaper reported SAFA stands to lose its R120-million a year sponsorship deal with Puma due to maladministration and allegations of some Bafana Bafana games being fixed.

An attempt to find the national under-20 team’s 2013 fixtures illustrates the point: SAFA’s official website only had 2012 fixtures. The football manager at SAFA referred Wits Vuvuzela to technical director Fran Hilton-Smith when asked about fixtures. Hilton-Smith, in turn, said the manager should have these details.

At the time of going to press, no one from SAFA had been able to provide Wits Vuvuzela with updated fixture details.

Makhanya, head coach since 2009, said the team relied on playing in the SAFA Gauteng Development League against other academy teams in the province.

He said it was “important to expose our players to international football at an early age” to improve the level of local football.

“There’s a need for coaching at youth level. As a country we need to put more effort and more resources to expose the talent. A lot of young players are not being seen … If youth structures can improve we will be better off as a country.”

The Bidvest Wits academy appears to be playing its part in youth development.

In June, former under-19 player Lebogang Phiri signed a four-year deal to play for Brondby’s first team after impressing at the youth tournament last year.

The player is just one of many young talents nurtured by Bidvest who have gone on to become professionals. Stanton Fredericks, Josta Dladla, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Sifiso Myeni are just a few of the academy’s luminaries.