Black soccer CEOs get red carded

2011-10-23 08:36

The sudden departure of Zola Majavu as Premier Soccer League (PSL) CEO barely three months into office, has raised questions about whether black administrators have what it takes to lead local football.

It also raises the question as to whether football bodies, the PSL and the South African Football Association (Safa) are prepared to afford black administrators the same respect shown to white bosses. Majavu joins a list that includes Joe Ndhlela, Mandla Mchunu, Leslie Sedibe and Albert “Ali” Mokoena, who all failed to see out their time at the two organisations.

This contrasts sharply with Trevor Phillips (two terms), Kjetil Siem and Raymond Hack, all of whom had extended stays at the two bodies.

Majavu started work on August 1 and resigned on October 11 following a disagreement with his PSL bosses on the appointment of senior staff such as the COO, CFO and head of legal affairs.

Gideon Sam, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president says black administrators still have a long way to go in sport.

“When you take a broad view of SA sport, it becomes clear that we still have to raise the bar as black administrators,” he said. “There is no doubt about it because every time something breaks down people look back and ask what happened there. In all our federations we must work harder and check what’s going on.”

No black football administrator has seen out their term at the PSL and Safa in recent times.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza’s comments this week led to suspicions that his organisation might go the white route once more when he said: “South Africa is a diverse country and we will not look at colour when appoint-ing the new chief executive.

“It’s going to be a CEO for the PSL. This is South Africa and South Africa is for everyone.”

If this happens, it will go against the PSL’s commitment that Phillips and Siem would be succeeded by local black administrators.

During Phillips’ time, Sizwe Nzimande, now acting head of sport at SABC, was groomed to take over from the British Bulldog but it never happened – Phillips was succeeded by Siem.

Former Netball South Africa president Ntambi Ravele, who once served as the PSL marketing manager, said a lack of support structures was the reason for black administrators’ failure.

“It is a question of having good support. Usually when you are there you are on your own and I don’t know whether it is because of our past or not,” she said.

Sam said he was concerned about the chopping and changing of administrators in the federations and called for stability.

“Some of these things I want to raise at our press conference on November 2. People can afterwards say what they want but we have to raise a couple of issues because if we want to be serious contenders in sport we have to turn the corner,” he said.

Regarding the PSL, he said: “We can only express our view that says the sooner we get stability the better, but beyond that we can’t go.”

» Additional reporting by Ntombi Moleme

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