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Fri Apr 25 09:09:06 SAST 2014

Alex Ferguson commends standard of club football in SA

TEAMtalk Media | 17 July, 2012 14:180 Comments
Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United
Image by: Clive Mason / Getty Images

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson commended the standard of club football in South Africa ahead of their pre-season friendly against Amazulu on Wednesday.

Ferguson said he had noticed an improvement in the game during his three prior visits to the country back in 1994, 2006 and 2008, but admits there is still room for improvement.

"In 1994 we played Kaizer Chiefs, it was a difficult game, we won 2-1 I think, but when we came back (in 2006) there was a big improvement and I think that improvement has steadied," he said during his first press conference since landing on local soil.

"I don't think it's gone as high as everyone's expected - it's the same level probably as four or five years ago.

"They are always difficult games; Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs - who we have played a few times - and I expect that tomorrow.

"Amazulu will be motivated - it's a special day."

The Scot also hopes the opportunity to play a club of United's stature will help to inspire the Usuthu players.

"You will always think when Manchester United come to your country there will be a general motivation of players and I hope that motivation will help them to progress," he said.

The 71-year-old also paid tribute to a number of South African stars who have plied their trade in the English Premier League in the past, and believes the likes of Benni McCarthy, Quinton Fortune and Steven Pienaar should serve as inspiration for young local players.

He said: "You know Quinton was part of my coaching staff, he was part of the academy. He did a great a job. Unfortunately he had a few injuries during his time at United but a great guy, great personality.

"Steven Pienaar is a very good player; Benni McCarthy has been such a good player. He scored that great goal against us when he was playing for Porto. It was an incredible goal.

"There is a capability for a country the size of South Africa to produce players.

"As it's been proved the inspiration must come from players who have done it and achieved it," he concluded.

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