‘SA footballers lack intelligence’


The Belgian, who has guided an unfancied Free State Stars to fifth after 19 games played in the ABSA Premiership so far this season, was disappointed with his charges’ decision-making in the final third as his side were held to a goalless draw against struggling Ajax Cape Town in their league match-up last Friday evening, saying he wished he had a remote to control his players’ movements in the box.

Commenting after the game he said: “We deserved more than one point, we had 10 attempts on goal, some were blocked or off target, but I think my keeper had just one brilliant save to make.

“I’m a bit disappointed in our decision-making in the box, as was the case last week against (Cape Town) City, and before against SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits. We had a lot of chances, but unfortunately did not make the right decision at the right time when we were in the box.

“We build up well and create the chances, but from there it’s up to the inspiration of the player – I don’t have a remote to say ‘now cross’ or ‘shoot’ or ‘pass the ball 45 degrees’ – that’s very difficult.”

Eymael feels young South African footballers in general lack football intelligence, which he feels filters down and impacts the national team as well.

“There’s a clear lack of decision making and football intelligence,” he said. “We have a few young players (at Stars) that I took from the academy – Tebogo Pontsane, Thabo Maphakisa – but they have to improve on this – they have a lot of creativity, but if they don’t improve regarding football analysis, decision-making and soccer intelligence, then they will start to drop.

“But it’s a matter of education, not a matter of being Free State Stars. It’s something I’ve seen a lot of in South Africa, and the reason why we have such problems in the national team, and why our players only become mature at 25 or 26 years old, which is very late compared to Europe. There at 25, you are a regular player making the difference in teams, so that’s a big difference between the PSL and the Premier League.”

Stars face Baroka FC in their next league clash, scheduled for Saturday at Goble Park.