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Shaun Bartlett: South Africa federation short-sighted

Grant Wahl caught up with former Colorado and MetroStars striker Shaun Bartlett, who scored 28 goals for South Africa in 74 games, including two strikes at the 1998 World Cup. Bartlett, who now works in South African television, spoke about soccer in the 2010 World Cup host country and why the national team's play has disgressed since he played.

"I think from the federation side we sort of became a victim of our own success very early," he said. "To win the Africa Cup of Nations six years after being readmitted to international football and then suddenly we host the tournament and end up winning it, our federation probably thought this is the team that's going to take the country to higher levels. Unfortunately, at that time I think 80 percent of that squad was growing old together. Nobody thought about when these players do retire, where are the young players going to come from?

"Everything is short-term, nothing is really planned way ahead. We knew six years ago that we were going to have the World Cup in South Africa, and everybody else knew that something needed to be done in order to produce a good team that can compete at the highest level, except the federation. It's something that we're certainly trying to change the mindset of the people that are in charge of football in South Africa. Until that changes, there's not going to be a real success for any national team, for that matter, as far as soccer is concerned."

Read the whole story at Sports Illustrated »

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