Grant Veitch interviewed by Joshua Hendricks on 29 March 2021
In part two Grant Veitch talks about the challenges, taking responsibility for one’s own mistakes and looking to the future.
“The PSL is very strong in terms of the salary structure and league structure. We hold on to the players maybe too long. They need to go (to Europe) by 18 or 19 years old, so they can adjust to European life. Its football development and not youth only, and then obviously I am still involved with the PSL set up and recruiting PSL players. And also making sure our Dream Club Project that we put in place is of the highest quality and standard. So that the hundred clubs that we choose, that they feel engaged and want to be part of us and support the club going forward. We’ve had a lot of support and gotten a lot of good players that we wouldn’t have found if it didn’t exist. You get your top academy players that come through and there is so much raw talent that develops later at 15 or 16 years old. We got a boy now, like I think his going to be an amazing player from Everton in Nyanga. He only started playing club football at 14.”
“So that will be my role, recruiting through the whole club, youth development and making sure we are sending players to Europe or if they don’t make it in Europe, then trying to produce as many First Team players as we can. Obviously I’ll be involved with other things like coaches appointments and stuff, and John and Michel would ask for my advice but at the end of the day it’s their decision.”
First Team Recruitment
“I’ve always been involved. It’s not me trying to bring in players, I’m just the first to recommend them. Terrence Mashego, (Taariq) Fielies with Ian Taylor, Craig Martin, Zukile Kewuti, Justin Shonga. All those kinds of players, I’m the first person to bring it up. Mdu…no one really wanted to sign (Mduduzi Mdantsane). And I forced the issue to bring him in. Ya, so I’ve been doing this for a while and I think I know what I’m doing. I’ve made mistakes as well but you try and learn from those mistakes is the most important. And don’t go ‘aah it was someone else’s fault or whatever, it didn’t work out’. You need to work out why it didn’t work.”
Challenges after youth recruitment
There are always challenges bringing in youngsters because that’s when the actual work begins. Kids deal with a range of complications of which they are often exposed to at a young age. Grant tells us about some of the challenges that he has faced.
“I think the biggest issue with players is when they come to you now, they getting picked up, they got a nice tracksuit, then they are travelling because of Diski okay and now they are on social media more and people want a piece of them. What happens then is that they think that they have made it and they are so far from making it and that causes them to relax.
In Europe the opposite happens, that when they get a sniff and I can see what is in front of me. I’m gonna work my arse off till I get to that place. I think that the biggest challenge is changing that mentality.”
Steps in climbing the ladder
There is a clear identity and a solid plan when progressing through the ranks for young players who are brought in. Listening to Grant, the key lies in putting in the hard work and trying to improve.
“Whenever I bring in a player now I’m clear, I’ll say you joining us and you might be part of the SAB team but you might not start, so the next step is to try and make you start for the SAB team. Then there might be an opportunity at the Diski team but you might not start, so the next goal needs to be starting at Diski. Then the next step after that is playing consistently. Five Diski games and do well then maybe you get called up to PSL training. There are all these steps that have to go along.”
Coming together for a common goal
As the conversation developed this brought forth the issues within our LFAs who can seem to be working against each other within the same region. Whereas if we could work together and support one another then it could mean us all sharing in that same success.
“We’ve got the talent here but it’s about changing the mentality and the mentality of Cape Town Football in general. We don’t point fingers and blame each other. We all need to work together towards a common goal to make sure we can achieve our objectives of what Cape Town sets out.
My job is going to be measured over how many boys I send overseas. I’m going to work exceptionally hard but I’m also going to piss off a few people along the way.”
The relationship with LFA clubs
Grant also speaks of eliminating unnecessary issues because it divides us and distracts us from providing opportunities for all.
“I try and treat all clubs in Cape Town especially the LFA clubs with the utmost respect because that’s what a relationship is. I’m going to use Everton (Nyanga) as an example …uhm… we got three players from Everton and three very good players and they (have) a great set up and are a great club. There’s now a club called Hustlers that we got two players from in Crossroads, and I looked at their youth and they (have) incredible young players coming through.
It’s about building that relationship and not going behind peoples backs and trying to steal players. It’s about building that relationship, so we all are working together because all they want to see is that their players that they’ve developed are playing PSL football. So, in the newer kind of club set up we want to put in some nicer incentives.”
Basic Recruitment Criteria
We then spoke about the kind of players he tries to bring in and the attributes that cannot often be coached. He references the need to have something special as the players’ technique is something that can be taught. Having a good first touch, good awareness of the game, good intelligence, pace, height in certain positions is always essential. Actions like how you talk to your teammates and how you conduct yourself. Having respect for everyone and yourself, and showing leadership skills. Going the extra mile to improve some of your weaker attributes. A hard-working attitude speaks a lot about the players’ mentality and willingness to improve.
Recruitment for Style of Play
“I’m a servant to Cape Town City, I’m employed and get my salary from Cape Town City. I don’t recruit the players that I like, I recruit the players that the club wants. If you see our central midfielders they are ball-playing midfielders, if you see our fullbacks they behave in a similar way (DDC) not exactly the same because we don’t have an Ajax philosophy and that also boxes players. We play a similar kind of football to the first team, that’s our identity. To be honest, it’s the best way to play football.”
After our conversation I was invited to watch a Cape Town City youth friendly match. Just by being at one of their youth friendlies there was such an openness and honesty within their environment. You never got the feeling of arrogance amongst the players or staff in attendance.
While speaking to Grant Veitch at half-time you just got the sense of how invested he is in the project. He knew each player’s name, where they are from, the different circumstances too, also just how badly he wants to work with all the different LFA clubs/academies in harmony for the development of the community and Cape Town entirely. His eagerness to work with good people and just doing more than what is expected of him is something that can be admired.
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