Winds Of Change; Will South African Football Embrace Lars Veldwijk & Globalisation?

LarsVeldwijk
Banging In Goals For Fun | Lars Veldwijk @ PEC Zwolle
LarsVeldwijk2
A Dream Move Turned Sour | Lars Veldwijk @ Nottingham Forest

#TheBootRoom

The spread of Globalisation as given rise to countless conversations, essays and case studies discussing the effects of the global trend on our society at length. As the years go by, we begin to see the true lasting effects of Globalisation on our planet in different spheres and differing walks of life; yet football remains one of the greatest illustrations of just how pivotal this movement of folks from all across the globe has aided in the spread of different cultures and aided in the development of the sport in the tiniest crevices of the globe and some of the biggest global superpowers.

The talent drain out of the Motherland has long been cited as one of the reasons why sustainable growth has been hard to attain on The Dark Continent, yet time has allowed us to witness many of those expats and their offspring returning home to help make Mama Africa as great as she was before she was stripped of most her glory & heritage. From the corporate sphere right through to the entertainment industry, we have many foreign born or bred South Africans that have returned home to help lead this great country into a new age of prosperity and excellence that benefits mankind as a whole. Yet somehow, many of our sporting codes have shunned foreign born or based South Africans or foreigners who qualify for South African citizenship due to a perceived lack of patriotism or an inability to sympathise with our cause as a growing nation.

The announcement of Lars Veldwijk’s desire to play for South Africa may have flown largely under the radar, mainly due to a lack of exposure to the Dutch Eredivisie, a league which has afforded may young South Africans with the perfect foundation upon which to build a successful football career. Some might attribute the lack of fanfare over an overseas nurtured forward with EU papers declaring his desire to play for Bafana Bafana to the hard to forget disappointment of getting excited over Davide Somma, only to have our hopes dashed when he did finally appear in the Green & Gold over a handful of caps; yet we would be remiss to allow such fears to potentially deprive us of an opportunity to strengthen a genuine weakness in our football.

Good strikers are as rare as an upright politician in South Africa, and that plague seems to have spread across the continent where our fellow footballing nations in Africa have begun to experience a similar shortage of elite level strikers that can prove to be the difference for a national side at the international level. The availability of a man that has proven his ability to find the back of the net at a high level is not an opportunity we should turn our collective noses up towards; Lars Veldwijk would offer us something we have not had in many moons, a Bafana Bafana forward that plays regular football at the elite level in a good league while banging in a few goals, the lad is just 24 years old and possesses good scope for growth in the years to come.

A Fledgling Career In Perspective

 

Born in Uithoorn, in the North of Holland on August 21st of 1991, Lars Veldwijk begun his footballing journey as a youth apprentice at SV Argon, whose youth ranks he joined after showing promise with the development side at Legmeervogels. The youngster was then snapped up by FC Volendam, who developed him to play professional football and handed him his pro debut as a teenager in 2011. Lars would go on to make one more appearance for the club before FC Utrecht saw his potential and gambled on the young forward in the hopes of unearthing a rough diamond that they could polish.

FC Utrecht was a tough learning curve for the towering striker as he featured in a handful of games and faced the relative ignominy of being farmed out on loan to Eertse Divisie, 2nd Division, side FC Dordrecht for the 2012-2013 season. That spell out on loan may have been the catalyst for what has transpired since, in what can only be described as a meteoric rise to prominence for Veldwijk; 14 goals in 31 games led to the youngsters’ stock rising with his impressive displays of power, touch and finishing earning him a few admirers.

A transfer to then Eerste Divisie side SBV Excelsior proved to be a shrewd one for both club and player, Lars helped guide his new side to 3rd place, 7 points behind 2nd placed FC Dordrecht. That points haul was enough to book them a place in the play-offs and the exciting Feyenoord based club stormed to promotion into the Eredivisie with a 4-2 aggregate win over RKC Waalwijk. 30 goals in 38 games for The Kralingers was more than enough to persuade Nottingham Forest to part with £500,000 in June of 2014 to take Lars over to England in a deal that could rise to £1m if various clauses are fulfilled

Lars struggled to find his feet at the City Ground and his failure to find the net in 14 appearances for the club has led many Forest supporters to doubt if their man is really worth all the hype and money; yet a loan move back home to Holland has seen may for those doubters call for him to be given another chance to prove his quality at the club. Ambitious Eredivisie club PEC Zwolle procured the services of Veldwijk on loan for the 2015/2016 season with an option to by the player outright at the end of his current loan spell; an impressive return of 12 goals and 7 assists in 27 games sees Lars sitting 9th on the goalscorers chart, 7 goals away from tied leaders Luuk de Jong and Vincent Janssen, of PSV and AZ Alkmaar respectively.

PEC Zwolle are currently overachieving in 9th place, 2 points off the Europa League Playoff qualifying spots with 5 games remaining in the league season, with a young squad that has an average age of 23, the club and its players seem primed to continue their development in the football realm. Lars has made his desire to play for South Africa public, the lad qualifies for citizenship through his father, who holds a South African passport; the ball is now in the court of SAFA, Coach Shakes Mashaba and the Mzansi football fraternity as a whole, are we ready to do all we can to make this talented striker a Bafana player or will we continue to fight against the winds of change brought about by Globalisation?

Bio

DoB: August 21st, 1991 (24)

PoB: Uithoorn, North Holland; Netherlands

Nationalities: Dutch, South African

National Team Record: N/A

Position/s: Advanced Forward, Complete Forward, Target-Man

Height: 1. 96m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: PEC Zwolle (On loan from Nottingham Forest)

Club Jersey No: #9

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2017

Market Value: £1,35m

Development Nests: Legmeervogels, SV Argon

Previous Clubs: FC Volendam, FC Utrecht, FC Dordrecht (Loan), SBV Excelsior, Nottingham Forest

 

The Numbers

 

Games Goals Assists
2015/16 27 12 7
Career 136 68 26

The Chosen Few, Another Shaky Bafana Bafana Selection

Shakes-Mashaba
An Under-Fire Gaffer | Shakes Mashaba
Flag_of_South_Africa.svg.png(wikipedia.org)
An Expectant Nation | South Africa

#TheGrandStandView

A collective air of anxiety had spread about the Mzansi football fraternity in the lead up to the Bafana Bafana preliminary squad announcement for the pivotal encounters against Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. While we have all grown accustomed to questioning the selections of coach Shakes Mashaba in recent times, with most publications reserving space for that sole purpose whenever a squad is set to be announced; the latest batch of chosen warriors already seem as if they will have a tall task on their hands if they are to take 6 points from a nation that has the quality to turn up and dismantle them, if they don’t step up to the level demanded in such critical times.

Cameroon are undefeated in their 2 games thus far, both 1-nil wins against Mauritania and Gambia showcased their ability to grind out results in close games while keeping the defensive end tight. South Africa, on the other hand, failed to score at home against The Gambia before being blown away 3-1 in Mauritania in a match the entire continent would have bet their houses on them winning. The pressure is now on for Bafana to secure a result away in Limbe before coming home to showcase their quality in front of a packed Durban crowd that will be expecting 3 points and an entertaining performance from the Boys.

Bafana Bafana Preliminary Squad

 

Goalkeepers

Name Club Age 2015/16 Stats
Itumeleng Khune Kaizer Chiefs FC 28 13 Games, 12 Conceded, 4 Clean Sheets
Jackson Mabokgwane Mpumalanga Black Aces FC 28 6 Games, 5 Conceeded, 3 Clean Sheets
Darren Keet KV Kortrijk 26 29 Games, 32 Conceded, 10 Clean Sheets

 

Defenders

Name Club Position/s Age 2015/16 Stats
Siyabonga Nhlapo BidVest Wits FC RB 27 19 Games, 1 Assist
Thabo Matlaba Orlando Pirates FC RB/LB 28 20 Games, 3 Goals, 1 Assist
Asavela Mbekile Mamelodi Sundowns FC RB/ CB/ DM 29 21 Games, 1 Goal, 2 Assists
Anele Ngcongca ES Troyes AC (On loan) RB/ CB/ LB 28 24 Games
Eric Mathoho Kaizer Chiefs FC CB 26 25 Games, 5 Goals
Rivaldo Coetzee Ajax Cape Town FC CB 19 23 Games
Thulani Hlatshwayo BidVest Wits FC CB / RB 26 21 Games, 3 Goals
Cheslyn Jampies Jomo Cosmos FC LB 26 18 Games, 2 Goals, 1 Assist
Sifiso Hlanti BidVest Wits FC LB 25 5 Games, 1 Goal, 1 Assist

 

Midfielders

Name Club Position/s Age 2015/16 Stats
Hlompho Kekana Mamelodi Sundowns FC DM 30 27 Games, 7 Goals
Andile Jali KV Oostende DM/ DLP 25 25 Games, 1 Goal
Kamohelo Mokotjo FC Twente DM/ DLP 24 27 Games, 1 Goal, 4 Assists
Jabulani Shongwe BidVest Wits FC AM/ AP (L/R/C) 26 22 Games, 2 Goals
Mpho Makola Orlando Pirates FC AM/ AP (L/R/C) 29 20 Games, 6 Goals, 2 Assists
Thulani Serero AFC Ajax DLP/ AM/ AP (L/R/C) 25 17 Games, 1 Goal
Mandla Masango Randers FC AP (L/R) 26 17 Games, 3 Goals
Themba Zwane Mamelodi Sundowns FC AP (L/R) 26 23 Games, 5 Goals, 2 Assits
William Twala Kaizer Chiefs FC AP (L/R) 26 21 Games, 4 Goals, 1 Assist

 

Forwards

Name Club Age 2015/16 Stats
Thamsanqa Gabuza Orlando Pirates FC 28 15 Games, 2 Goals, 2 Assists
Prince Nxumalo Ajax Cape Town 25 17 Games, 11 Goals, 3 Assists
Tokelo Rantie AFC Bournemouth 25 6 Games
Dino Ndlovu Anorthosis Famagusta 26 13 Games, 10 Goals

 

The forthcoming encounters could be defining for the nation and its gaffer Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, who has had to bear the brunt of great criticism for his failures to get his boys to play at a high level when it truly matters, now is the time to prove doubters wrong once & for all. Some selections may leave us scratching our heads, and the omission of some other names will surely afford us with ample conversation subjects in the days to come, yet the man has made his pick and we will be expecting to see two good performances with 2 positive results that get us the points we need to climb up the table and avoid the embarrassment of not qualifying for Afcon, yet again…

Half-Time Orange For Thought; Too Soon To Call It, The Steve Komphela Debate

Komphela(Family)
The Prodigal Son Returns | Steve Komphela
Komphela(rebuildingA Giant)
In A State Of Transition | Kaizer Chiefs

#TheBootRoom

Dissected with the attention to detail of a legendary Masterchef 2nd season casting outcast , your good mate Uncle Bob serves up his weekly Half-Time Orange For Thought; a mental morsel for the sports fanatic with a healthy appetite for wholesome consumables. We at GSV have reluctantly declared ourselves accountable for any digestion difficulties that may or may not occur. Enjoy!

South African bred football coaches are quickly becoming the flavour of the season, with the number of largely unknown foreign names beginning to diminish as more & more club owners and administrators wise up to the latent fact that local is indeed lekker. One of the most inspirational members of this new wave of successful and ambitious local gaffers is a man whose name has been in headlines since his appointment as Kaizer Chiefs coach on a 3 year contract at the start of the season. A former Kaizer Chiefs player and captain, Stephen Mbuyiselo Komphela’s homecoming to the AmaKhosi may not be going as some had hoped initially, yet the man does not deserve to have his head placed underneath the managerial guillotine just yet.

The well-spoken and good mannered Komphela showed incredible brevity and commendable ambition to step up and want to take over the reins at Kaizer Chiefs, after they had just enjoyed one of their most successful spells in recent memory under the tutelage of a good coach who was well loved and respected by the AmaKhosi supporters. Steve is a talented coach who has earned the chance to display his skills at the highest level with a team that can match his ambition and dedication to growth on & off the field, as a gaffer of smaller teams in South African football, Komphela proved his mantle and helped lesser fancied sides overachieve and develop into good football playing teams that were as competitive as they were entertaining. While his appointment may have initially divided opinion amongst the extended Kaizer Chiefs family, with his lack of silverware & big team experience being used as reasons for his unsuitability for the job; yet one feels as if the AmaKhosi would be in great hands if they allow Steve to build his team and impose his ideology fully before sharpening & wielding that managerial axe.

Replacing the highly successful Stuart Baxter was always going to be a tall order for any coach; yet the polar opposites between the two coaches was bound to necessitate the need for a season of bedding in for Komphela, when we take those inevitable teething pains into consideration and combine them with the loss of highly experienced and talented personnel, we can begin to fully fathom some of the numerous challenges Steve faced when he “stepped into the lion’s den”, to use his own eloquent words.

Playing Style

 

Stuart Baxter implored the side to play typical British football with good pressing in key positions & the pace in attacking positions to hurt their opposition with transitions after winning the ball back higher up the field, before looking to then control the tempo of the game after gaining the ascendency in the tie.
Steve Komphela, on the other hand, prefers for his side to try control the game from the onset & use their quality to create chances while putting the opposition under constant pressure while attempting to dominate possession and play with the handbrake off.
Such a drastic change in playing style was bound to take some adjusting to for the players, fans and top level management alike; yet one must acknowledge that Komphela’s changes have made for a more entertaining Kaizer Chiefs and that success is heart-warming to those of us who believe that Mzansi Diski was losing its identity due to a plethora of clubs playing counter attacking European football with players that were developed to play a certain brand of attacking football that allows their genuine strengths to come to the fore naturally.

Player Management

 

There has been much written about Steve’s inability to bring silverware to Naturena thus far, yet the man has reached two finals and stayed in the challenge for league honours with a transitional squad that does indeed lack the superstar quality that Kaizer Chiefs fans had become accustomed to having don their legendary Black & Gold strip in yesteryears. Mr. Komphela has had to reshuffle the roster at Kaizer Chiefs due to player departures, dips in form, unforeseen injuries and the natural progression of age catching up to some of the key players under Baxter’s reign.

Truth be told, Stuart Baxter pulled a Jose Mourinho on Kaizer Chiefs; for all the success and silverware he brought to the club, his poor roster management left the new gaffer in a precarious position when it came to the quality in depth available within the team. Under the tutelage of Steve Komphela, the AmaKosi have begun to see some of their academy graduates and other previously lesser known quantities stepping up into the 1st team squad and begin to showcase their qualities.
Players like Riyaad Pieterse, Lorenzo “uBaba Ka Sbongile” Gordinho, Lucky “Sheriff” Baloyi (The Authentic One, J), William Twala & Hendrick “Pule” Ekstein have all stepped into pivotal roles since Sir Steve took over the reins & the entertainment value has returned on the field once again due to this injection of younger legs into a starting unit that was beginning to look long in the tooth under Baxter.
Steve Komphela deserves to be given a fair crack at assembling and training his side to play according to his ideology and fulfil the mandate set before him when he took control of one of the hottest coaching jobs in sports on the African continent.

A highly respected man-manager with a good tactical approach and a great knowledge of football, Steve’s side is in that Stuart Baxter realm of transition, and those calling for his head would do very well to practise a degree of patience if they desire to see their beloved team return to trophy winning ways while playing an entertaining style of football that is befitting of the global Kaizer Chiefs brand.
Ask me how I feel regarding Steve Komphela’s performance as Kaizer Chiefs coach thus far, and I’d safely say it just too soon to call it; after less than a full season at the helm of a great club in need of stability during a phase of rebuilding, Kaizer Chiefs fans should be questioning some of their household names and their performances instead of pointing the finger at a gaffer who has done relatively well thus far.

Steve Komphela

Bio

Full Name: Stephen Mbuyiselo Komphela

DoB: July 1st, 1967 (48)

PoB: Golden Valley Farm, Kroonstad; Free State

Playing Role: Defender

Playing Experience: Klerksdorp City, Free State (Qwa Qwa) Stars, Kaizer Chiefs, Gaziantepspor, Dardanelspor (353 Games; 25 Goals); 24 South African Caps

Previous Coaching Experience: Manning Rangers, Dynamos FC, South Africa u/20, Maritzburg United, South Africa u/23, Free State Stars, Platinum Stars, Free Sate Stars, South Arica (Assistant Coach), South Africa (Interim Coach), Maritzburg United

Select Coaching Record:

Club Spell Games Won Drawn Lost Win %
FS Stars Nov 18th, 2008 – June 30th, 2009 & Oct 20th, 2010 – Dec 1st, 2013 127 48 40 39 37.80
Platinum Stars July 1st, 2009 – June 30th, 2009 30 9 4 17 30
Maritzburg United Jan 1st, 2007 – Jan 9th, 2007 & Jan 6th, 2014 – July 2nd, 2015 47 17 14 16 36.17
Kaizer Chiefs July 3rd, 2015 – Present 29 15 10 4 51.72
Total 233 89 68 76 38.20