Growing up as a young white boy in South Africa, we had a distinct hero like view of Fiiiiiiiiissssh! You see the brilliant footballer made everything seem possible and easy at that. Mark Fish was part of the legendary Orlando Pirates team that won the African Champions League and the AFCON winning Bafana Bafana, he has experienced some of the greatest triumphs in world football and now we got the chance to ask Mark a few questions.
All Things Jabu (ATJ): First off, thank you for chatting to us. What are you up to these days?
Mark Fish (MF): Firstly I am in the outdoor advertising industry working with and for a great young energetic company Insightoutdoor! A former footballer and I have formed a consultancy company where we try and get funding for social housing projects for construction companies. All I can say is the business world is a lot different to the football field. But in life we all have to move on and so be it.
ATJ: Pitso is gone. Who do you think SAFA should appoint to get Bafana Bafana back to the top echelons of African football?
ATJ: Since you won the African title with Orlando Pirates in 1995, South African sides have struggled so much on the Continent, what do you think the reason for this is?
MF: Mental strength is a problem and the quality of football has not improved in SA but the rest of the continent has moved forward. So we are playing catch up and will be for a long time.
ATJ: Do you think the current Orlando Pirates team is better than the one you won the African Club Championship with?
MF: They are a very exciting team to watch but I do believe that if they can go and be successful in Africa then we can judge! Once a Pirate, always a Pirate.
ATJ: Why do you think that the current batch of South African players have struggled as much as they have overseas?
MF: Because of the quality of football in SA the players are not as good as they think they are but also the desire to get there and work hard to make it overseas is not a commitment to them ,they always make the easier choice and come back to SA where life is good!
ATJ: Who do you think, of the current batch of PSL based Bafana players, is most well equipped to make it to the top of European football?
MF: I have always liked the look of Andile Jali and Myeni at Pirates but I do feel if the players want to go they must go rather sooner than later. Jali should have gone already as he has nothing more to learn in the ABSA league and his football will go backwards if he stays!
MF: Never should life ever be about regrets, I scored at Old Trafford so it made up for any disillusions that I might have had.
ATJ: Who is best player you played with and who is best player you played against?
MF: I was very fortunate to have played with and against many great players. To many to mention, but John ‘shoes’ Mosheu was my favourite in the national team!
ATJ: What is lacking in the PSL that puts it so far behind the English Premier League?
MF: The quality of football is a major difference but the lack of proper football development in SA at the right age groups is where we go wrong! SAFA and the PSL should be working together not competing against one another. Footballers come and go but the administration in our football stays pretty much the same. Administrators ruin our football!
ATJ: In a career that is full of highlights, what was standout moment of your career for you?
MF: My whole career being fortunate to have had the life I did! Being part of the Pirates team that won the African Champions League has to rank up there.
ATJ: You were an ambassador for the 2010 FIFAWorld Cup, what was that experience like?
MF: Travelling the world to tell them to come to SA and watch the World Cup was an awesome experience. I was and still am Honoured and privileged!
MF: The infrastructure is the major legacy but from a footballing view point only time will tell. Maybe more white South Africans are watching football?
ATJ: Now many may not know this, but you also played for the Beach Bafana. What was it like being involved in the beautiful game on the beach?
MF: It was very enjoyable but once again the person involved with beach football lied and did not fulfil his promises, so my experience was short lived!
ATJ: Which other sports would you love to have played at a professional level?
MF: Would love to have been a professional volleyball umpire! (ATJ – wouldn’t we all?)
ATJ: Do you think that players being on social media, such as twitter is good or bad thing? Such as recent incidents with Joey Barton and Eden Hazard have shown?
MF: There is no reason for them not to be on twitter but they should just be very aware of what they say?
ATJ: Mark, thanks very much for the chat! Fantastic stuff!
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