Former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates star Jabu Mahlangu, previously known as Pule, was a pioneer of skills and trickery, otherwise referred to as kasi flavour, has called on local coaches to give players more freedom to express themselves through skill and flair, saying this would restore South Africa’s playing identity.
“I feel like the players of today are more talented than players of my generation in terms of skill… they are far better than us,” said Mahlangu, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Copa Coca-Coca National Final press conference at the Clapham High School in Pretoria.
“The only difference is that we had confidence and character. The coaches also understood that they had to make sure that they focus on what we are good at. We need to encourage players and we need coaches who will embrace our players and their style of football,” he added.
The ex-Bafana Bafana midfield-wizard went on to reveal how he was afforded the opportunity to express himself, although some of his coaches would want to limit him to a certain extent.
“When I was still playing for Chiefs, I would try to track back and help with defence, but Cyril Nzama would be the first to say ‘No Jabu, jika (go back) and the coach would tell me to track back, and Cyril would tell the coach ‘no I will mark two players so that Jabu can be free’. That was because Cyril knew that when we get the ball, we know what I can do with the ball and end product was always good.”
The ambassador of the schools tournament went on to lambast local club bosses for their continued recruitment of foreign coaches. Mahlangu believes foreign coaches temper with SA’s brand of football.
“The chairmen of the clubs in the PSL are at fault because when they hire these coaches. When you Google and you ask about them from people of their country, they don’t even know them, but when they come here to South Africa, our chairmen give them all the powers.
“You can win everything with big teams in Europe but if you drift away from the club identity and culture of the club you are out… they don’t compromise.”