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Tinkler – Why Rugby Is Doing Well Than Football In SA

Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler says rugby in South Africa will continue to shine globally unlike football because their development is very strong through the schools.

South Africa is still in the state of ecstasy and delirium after the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup, as they defeated their biggest nemesis All Blacks by narrowest margins (12-11) at Stade de France on Saturday.

Siya Kolisi’s men became the first side to win the Webb Ellis four times to edge ahead of All Blacks (three titles) and second side to win the World Cup back-to-back after New Zealand had done so in 2011 and 2015.

Tinkler, just like everyone in the country, watched the Boks proudly lift the trophy but said for football to emulate rugby development has to be better because by the time the kids arrive at the top flight football he has to juggle many things that should be taken care in development.  

“Rugby, development, is very strong through the schools,” said Tinkler when asked to divert away from football.

“Football development is very strong but through clubs, but those structures in my opinion are failing. The level of coaching they [children] are getting is not to the standard required.

“We were talking about earlier in the changing room, you have a 17-year-old or 16-year-old boy at Barcelona [Lamine Yamal], is he a freak of nature that he is playing at the age of 16, 17? No.

“He has been at La Masia at the age of six. But by the time he reaches 16, 17 – he has developed to now represent Barcelona.

“As a head coach [in the PSL], I still have to deal with development issues of players and that shouldn’t be happening. At the PSL level, I should be primarily worried about the results but I’m still have to worry about – can this guy cross the ball, can this one know how to finish, can this boy make a 20-metre pass or five metre pass, does this guy know when he’s got space to turn when he doesn’t have space to turn.

“All these things should have happened when they were younger, but yet we still have to deal with late developers. There is a reason for the late developers because the development hasn’t been good enough at a young age.”

However, Tinkler argued that football has more challenges in the country due to the inequalities.  

“Lots of our kids come out of the township and are playing on poor fields, small spaces. We talk about finishing, they are using brick-walls, using a tire to score a goal,” he added.  

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“You put them in front of the big goal posts, they asked themselves ‘what do I do here?’ Those are the challenges and issues that we have.

“Possibly why rugby is most successful? Because of the school system, because it brings two things: one, education side; two, discipline. Discipline is extremely important and you don‘t get that at amateur football.” 

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.