Bafana Bafana defender Anele Ngcongca says the South Africa will benefit a lot if more players leave the Absa Premiership to play abroad.
“It wouldn’t hurt them to come abroad and play on a big stage where they can improve as players,” said Ngcongca, who is now playing for Troyes in France.
The Cape Town-born defender believes that South African players need to look at options overseas, which in turn could help boost the national side.
“The majority of our Bafana Bafana [national team] all play locally and it is having a negative effect on us against other established teams in Africa.
“When you look at a team in the class of Ivory Coast and Ghana at the 2015 Nations Cup, they’ve got players playing in Europe and you can see the big difference.
“It showed in how well they started the tournament and both ended up in the final, but South Africa lacked that mental ability, toughness, exposure and experience.”
Ngcongca, however, admitted that there are some obvious reasons why players might choose to stay in South Africa.
“The obvious problem with South Africans struggling to come to Europe is that they are well paid at home and these players don’t want to leave the comfort zone.
“All the trailblazers like Benni (McCarthy), the big man Lucas [Radebe] and others, sacrificed a lot to succeed in Europe. In the end they got the benefits as they went on to qualify and play at the World Cup – making big transfer moves as well.
“You cannot force anyone to follow the same path as others, but for self-development – and to succeed as a nation – we need to challenge ourselves against the best on a regular basis at the top.
“Our generation was lucky to play at the 2010 World Cup and the Nations Cup three years later at home – only because we hosted these events.
“For us to qualify for both tournaments [2017 Nations Cup and 2018 World Cup] it will be a great achievement for our generation but to make an impact we must first test ourselves with the very best in the world.”
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