Former Golden Arrows forward Norman Smith says local government and business people need to start making a notable contribution to sports development in townships and remote areas in each province of South Africa.
Smith is concerned with the lack of passion for the game shown by players from communities in Kimberley in the Northern Cape.
“We have a lot of talent, but the one challenge is that there are boys who don’t see what they can achieve with football because they are not in a place like Joburg, nor do they have professional teams in the province, the boys don’t see the bigger picture and I want to instill that passion in them, we are not a sports province because we are a bit isolated. There is no team that is close by,” said Smith.
Smith is employed as a coach at ABC Motsepe League club Colville United in the Northern Cape – the young coach is cutting his teeth in the development league as a coach and hopes to lead an Absa Premiership side four years from now. The 36-year-old has encouraged retired sports stars to continue hosting annual tournaments to revive the love of sports in communities, which is central in stopping youngsters from getting involved in drugs.
The 36-year-old is the founder of the Norman Smith December Games. He was also involved in Bana Bokamoso with Sol Plaatje University, an initiative aimed at keeping the children off the streets and also helped the tertiary institute’s team finish second and gain promotion from the B to the A stream to compete in the Varsity Cup.
After retiring from football due to an ankle injury that still makes it difficult for him to play football or jog as much as he would like to in the present day, Smith is grateful to have had an opportunity to play professionally, despite occasional pains that reminds him of a football career that ended too early.
“As time went by, I think the clubs have improved the situation with medical treatment and the way players recover, where medical treatment is way better than where they were back then. Even each team has improved, and they are not trying to force things now like they were in my time.”
Smith insists Safa needs to do more to provide training in remote areas. He said there is only one coaching clinic every two years in Kimberley. The former Jomo Cosmos player says there needs to be more people in administration with passion and experience for football for it to improve.
“To me it is not fair to local coaches to have so many foreign coaches in the leagues, because local coaches need to be given a chance.
“Focus more on local coaches and players to improve our football, like in Europe, and have less politicians running football but people with passion for the game, this will see the treatment of players improve, and you will have more talented players coming in,” said Smith.
Smith would like to purse a degree in Sports Management and enrol for a course in Information Technology – the young coach has developed an interest in IT in his late 30s because of his brother, who usually assists with fixing his PC, and after spending time using different devices.