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Njenje slams local player attitudes 20/02/04
Orlando Pirates care-taker coach Augusto Palacios has slammed the attitude of South African players, claiming that they will only realise their full potential when they learn to listen to a coachs instructions.

Speaking in the latest edition of Soccer-Laduma, the 52-year-old Palacios says despite local footballers being amongst the most technically advanced in the world they lack the mental toughness to succeed at the highest level.

When a South African player is dropped to the bench for a few games, his attitude changes, says Palacios. He will in all likelihood feign injury, start having family problems or run to the supporters accusing the coach of this and that before turning to the media.

The Peruvian-born Palacios believes this is out of tune with trends in world football, which emphasises the rotation of players and a horses for courses mentality.

He says this is evident at arguably the two greatest clubs in the world Real Madrid and Manchester United where their respective coaches, Carlos Queiroz and Sir Alex Ferguson, bench club superstars like Luis Figo and Ryan Giggs when they deem appropriate.

There is nothing like a free role at Madrid, the likes of Beckham and Zidane still have to defend and they dont give away the ball by dribbling unnecessarily.

I dont have any problems with players doing their shibobos and tsamayas, but the most important thing is that we must move forward with pace, including achieving the required end result.

And its not only South African players that get a tongue lashing from Njenje in the weekly publication.

He says football fans around the country are also part of the problem and must learn to behave themselves in a responsible manner.

Supporters must stop throwing missiles when they feel that certain changes are not done to their satisfaction, especially when it comes to their favorite players, says Palacios.

Things are done for technical reasons. For instance if I am losing a particular game, I will probably sacrifice a defender for an attacking midfielder or an extra striker to add to the numbers going forward.

Such a move might compromise us at the back, but it is the risk to take given the circumstances.

Palacios says many players earn very generous salaries but often dont give their all.

Instead they are the first to cry foul and fuel the supporters cries that coaches must be sacked.

Palacios was part of Perus squad that qualified for the 1978 and 1982 World Cup finals although he did not take part in the showcase events in Argentina and Spain.

He is a former South African national coach, while also having steered the fortunes of Witbank Aces, Kaizer Chiefs, Qwa Qwa Stars, Manning Rangers, Sundowns and Moroka Swallows at various stages of his coaching career.

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