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Hunt Gave Me A Chance At 13!

Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Lance Davids says that South Africa needs to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to blooding youngsters.

Speaking to Rob Delport in the previous edition of iDiski times, Davids spoke about how he was given his chance by Gavin Hunt at Hellenic when he was barely a teenager, but over the past few years younger players rarely get opportunities.

Davids says that while the rest of the world are giving youngsters senior football opportunities at early ages, apart from the odd case in South Africa, players aren’t being blooded young enough.

After Hellenic, Davids went to Germany to play for 1860 Munchen, and he was still a teenager when he made his Bundesliga debut (against Bayern Munich).

“Gavin Hunt was the coach, and I got to play in a friendly match for the senior team against Grasshoppers, at Hartleyvale, I’ll never forget that day. I was 13, turning 14,” Davids told iDiski Times.

“And Gavin said, ‘My boy, you only going to get two minutes, aah, I don’t know if you can handle it.’ And in the end I played 12 minutes! It was amazing!”

“So now, since I’ve been a (player) manager, and people tell me a player is still young, and he’ll get a chance when he’s 18. Eighteen? At 18 you should be playing first team football regularly! Have things changed that much that you’re only good enough at 18 now? “

“Look at Dortmund’s youngster, (Youssoufa) Moukoko, who just made his debut, a day after turning 16. It’s not how old you are, it’s how good you are. And the coaches should throw them in if it’s possible. The players in Europe are developing much quicker, and the leagues are getting more competitive, and South Africa is falling behind.”

“And with this pandemic, they are falling even further behind. I think we have the resources, but are we as a football nation, motivated to take our game to the next level? In my opinion, I doubt it from what I’m seeing, but everyone is entitled to their opinions in football, but I just think we have a long way to go.”

Keep an eye out for the next edition of iDiski Times, which will hit the streets on the 15th of December.

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.