New Safa leadership’s first 100 days: the verdict

2014-01-05 14:01

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The Danny Jordaan-led Safa leadership will be 100 days in office on Tuesday. S’Busiso Mseleku looks at the highlights and lowlights since it was elected.

In boxing parlance, the SA Football Association (Safa) leadership that was voted into office on September 28 can easily be said to have taken over an organisation that was on the ropes.

Safa reported a R46?million loss at the end of its previous financial year.

Bafana Bafana – the senior men’s national team that is the jewel in the organisation’s crown – was on a free fall.

There have been huge challenges and negatives, but the positives outweigh these.

Positives

»?Finances

Safa is sitting with a balance of R540?million in the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust from hosting the event in 2010.

The money is designated for development and not for the organisation’s administration purposes.

A total of R60?million has already been allocated to different development projects for the period March 2014 to February 2015.

While no major sponsors have been announced as yet, there has been a R3?million injection from Sasol to the Safa Development Agency and Ernst & Young came in as sponsors as well.

Jordaan has set a goal for his team to turn Safa into a R1?billion organisation by the end of their four-year term.

»?National teams

Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil just before the new executive came into office.

At the time of the elections, Bafana were ranked 68th in the world but have made a steady climb, moving to 61 in October and November before dropping one slot to 62 in December.

The highlight of this period was a 1-0 victory over world and European champions Spain.

There has also been a 1-1 away draw against Morocco, a 3-0 victory over neighbours Swaziland and Bafana are set to play Brazil in March.

Jordaan has promised that Safa will unveil a new Bafana kit sponsor at that match.

Amajita won the Cosafa Under-20 tournament, beating Kenya 2-0 in the final last month.

The women’s Under-17 national team narrowly missed qualification for the World Cup while the Under-20 team is still in the running after annihilating Tanzania 9-1 on aggregate.

»?Development

Safa has come up with a technical master plan, which Jordaan has dubbed Vision 2022, to counter the lack of development.

They hosted an A Level course where top coaches including national coach Gordon Igesund and Jomo Sono received their A Level coaching licences.

This brought the number of local coaches with this qualification to 100 for the first time.

Safa has already established Under-15 leagues in 290 of the 341 local football associations (LFAs) and Under-15 girls’ leagues in 90 LFAs. This thanks to funding

from the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust.

Another major boost to development was the announcement of a three-year, R10?million funding of the Sports Development Centre to be built at Durban’s Hoy Park to develop players aged between 13 and 19.

Negatives

»?Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana

The Safa vice-president was suspended and removed from being chairperson for the African Nations Championship that starts on Saturday following inflammatory comments he made about Igesund’s mandate.

This was said not to be Safa’s mandate. His hearing is still to take place.

»?Vernon Seymour

The former Safa Cape Town president was suspended last month and Safa turned down his resignation, saying they are “vigorously pursuing charges that a senior Safa official used his position to try and extract sexual favours from a young female colleague”.

The matter is yet to go through due processes.

»?Match-fixing

The match-fixing scandal around Bafana Bafana’s pre-2010 World Cup matches also reared its ugly head when a tiff ensued between Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Valcke pronounced that Fifa had taken over the investigation of this matter following government’s inactivity.

Mbalula accused Valcke of meddling in South Africa’s affairs.

»?African Nations Championship

The “club vs country” saga ensued as some PSL clubs initially refused to release their players for this tournament, arguing that it does not fall under the Fifa calendar.

Sanity eventually prevailed and Igesund has a full squad for the tournament.

All in all, it has not been a bed of roses over the 98 days, but there clearly have been more positives than negatives.

Jordaan had an impeccable record as CEO of Safa.

Whenever he was in charge, Safa would be cash flush and Bafana would prosper.

Only time will tell if he can transfer this to his presidency.

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