Miguel Gamondi: My Life, My Story (Part III)

What the rest of the African continent need to do in order to be at the same level as Europeans is to do the same thing they are doing here in Morocco.

In South Africa you have the infrastructure but the key is to work with the coaches and the youth development structures. As a coach, you need to improve and learn and when you see the FIFA World Cup, Champions League and Africa Nations Cup – you need to learn from that.

Football now is a business and coaches are under pressure to produce results. Sometimes a coach cannot play youth players in the senior team because you know that if you lose three to four games, you will get fired.

The biggest teams in South Africa – Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs it’s a little bit OK because there is pressure from the media and the supporters. But there are clubs who don’t play to win the league and those clubs need to be patient and allow coaches to develop players.

In Spain, the race for the title is always between Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – other teams play for Champions League and those teams work well with youth development. A lot of players come out of those teams.

I believe South Africa has a huge potential. Clubs who believe in youth development and the process will have success at the end of the day. But you need to have a three, four or five-year plan.
Today, football is a business and you have to win even when you are not ready. Sometimes the management puts pressure to win every game, and that is impossible.

If I come back to South Africa one day, I would love to work as a football director or technical director or to be involved in the process of developing players. I had the same experience in Morocco doing that.

At Hassania Agadir I had one year to prepare the youth and in the second year, we started well, we made fantastic progress, lost the league by one point and qualified for the Caf Champions League and reached the quarterfinal of the domestic Cup. And that is a small team in Morocco.

I took over the team in the middle of the season and there were problems with the team and the management. It’s clear football is about results, but give me time to get the results – you cannot wake up in the morning and get results – that is impossible.

At Wydad Casablanca, I came in as a technical director and when results were bad – in the last seven matches of the season the president said to me: ‘Please Miguel, take over the team”. He fired two or three coaches that season – in the last seven games I took over the team and we came back and lost the title by one point to Raja Casablanca. And our bench was not good because we had a lot of players injured. We played the semi-final of the Caf Champions League against Al Ahly and Pitso Mosimane.

We lost 2-0 in Casablanca and 3-1 in Cairo and that started the problems. And I left because that is not the project I was looking for. After that the team brought in new players, they won the league and the Caf Champions League.

Wydad Casablanca is like Mamelodi Sundowns, it’s a big club and you need to win all the time.

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