“We miss having a reserve league all the time,” Baxter said on Thursday. “A better organised reserve league is integral to the development of younger players.” The last league match was played on September 25, and the next only scheduled for October 22.
It means the teams not involved in the two cup competitions the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout faced a lengthy period of inactivity and a situation, according to the Briton, where reserve league fixtures were sorely needed to fill the gap.
Premier Soccer League spokesman Lux September said the reserve league was under review. “The reserve league format and funding is currently under review and we can’t make any statements until this process is complete,” September said on Friday.
With newly elected SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan preaching ‘grassroots-level development’, Baxter said more action was needed. “The path of younger players from the age of 15 is far too haphazard here,” Baxter said.
“We hope the players will be developed, rather than have a path plotted for them. “What are they learning? What sort of coaches are they getting? What games are they exposed to? Are they playing against the best so they can learn from each other?”
Baxter said the reserve league needed an urgent re-think. “When you get to the reserve league, you don’t know from one week to the next whether the reserve game is going to be off or on, or do we even have one?
“All of that sort of thing makes it a shot in the dark. I miss better preparation for the youths and reserves.” After Bafana Bafana failed to progress to the next stage of World Cup qualifiers, the lengthy gaps between international games could also become even more frequent.
“It’s unfortunate, because the gaps before for a month or so were filled with national games and we didn’t see our players. “Suddenly we’ve hit a period where there are very few games. That makes it more difficult to produce a good product.”