In South Africa, and recently at the Sharks as well, we are having a problem with the younger generation getting anxious and restless, some of them even deciding to move on to other provinces just to get decent game time. Here is how we should fill the gap.
I am an avid soccer fan, especially when it comes to the English Premier League, and they had the same problem. Young players would go through the very professional youth setup, but once they hit the age of 23 or 24, and they can no longer play in the age group competitions, they would fade away on the reserves bench and never hit their full potential. That is, until they started their affiliates programme.
An affiliate club would be a club that is either in a lower division and still in England, or a club in a different country. In the soccer scene, affiliate clubs have agreements in place to have first option on buying of players, as well as having the luxury of using each others players.
So let’s say the Sharks want to look at doing this, they would get an affiliate club/province in the first division and then look at a club in England or Ireland. What would then happen is that any surplus player that does not get game time at the Sharks, but is still seen as an asset, could go and play for Boland, but still remain a player of the Sharks, much like a loan agreement works.
There is a difference though, the club playing the player would benefit greatly as this player is still being paid by the club that own him, i.e. the Sharks. Many would say that this stutters the development of players and homegrown talent at the lower division club and that is true to certain extent, but it will stop the talented players that are blocked by current players from leaving the country and being lost to the Green and Gold jersey.
This agreement does work both ways though, and say the Sharks enter into such agreement with an Irish club, that club could have loaned the Sharks a decent flyhalf when we were struggling to find a player. It is an immediate solution to a problem that really put the Sharks back in the Super 14 this year.
What do you think? Is this a good idea? Is there a need for a system like this?Tweet