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Countdown to SA

Posted on 13 July 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

We continue counting down to our tour of South Africa with the second of a three-part series from Spurs hero Gary Mabbutt.

Our long-time skipper and FA Cup winner in 1991 has the honour of being chosen as an ambassador for South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid - extra special for 'Mabbsy' as his wife Kathy is from South Africa, her family is based in Johannesburg and the Mabbutt family are annual visitors.

In his second installment, Gary looks at how South African football has taken rapid strides in the last decade...

WHEN I FIRST went out to South Africa 10, 12 years ago, the natural skill was there but teams weren't very well organised or discliplined.

Over the last decade, with a lot foreign coaches going over to work in South Africa - Philippe Troussier, who was in charge of the Japanese national side, Carlos Queiroz, who was number two at United and now manager of Real Madrid - these coaches have helped South African football.

The local coaches have also worked hard, taken the necessary courses and the football is a great deal better than it was 10 years ago.

Look at it this way - 10 years ago you wouldn't have found a player in the Premier League or in Europe but you've now got the likes of Shaun Bartlett, Benny McCarthy in Spain, Steven Pienaar in Holland, Quinton Fortune, there are players in the best leagues in the world.

I mentioned earlier that South African football and teams are much better organised now.

All the players want to go onto the pitch and show their tricks and that's fine, but that has to be within a team ethic. But now it's all about working together and not all about individuals. That is clear now and they all work better as a team. Things like marking at set-pieces, a lot of work has gone into those areas.

For people who haven't seen club football in South Africa, they will be surprised with the quality.

Countdown to SA: Gary Mabbutt Part 1
Countdown to SA: Perry Suckling