Pressing Issues: Safa must hurry up – not too slowly

2014-03-31 10:00

When they tell you to hurry up in isiZulu, they normally say: “Zama ukusheshisa kancane.”

The problem arises when, like one old man at one of the places I once worked, you make a direct translation to English.

It then becomes a serious contradiction in terms, as he would say: “Try and hurry up slowly.”

The meaning just flies out the window.

But in typical Baba uDumakude’s words, I think it’s time the SA Football Association (Safa) tried to hurry up slowly.

The football governing body’s current leadership took office in September – six months ago.

They entered office on the transformation ticket and promised to revamp South Africa’s ailing football and turn its fortunes around.

One of the steps to achieve this was the formation of the Safa Development Agency which, along with a number of other ideas, was part of the technical master plan.

I hear the latter has now been baptised Vision 2022.

The development agency, headed by the good mfundisi Dr Robin Petersen, was tasked with raising the millions of rands needed for the proper development of our football.

So far, the entity has raised R3?million spread over three years. That’s a drop in the ocean.

When are they going to reach their target?

In the past few months, Safa has announced the second division will be sponsored by Patrice Motsepe, a group of coaches will get their CAF A coaching licences, Under-15 leagues at several local football associations will get funding, and Under-17 and Under-19 provincial tournaments will be launched.

These are good developments and moves in the right direction, but one still feels it is a bit too little and at too slow a pace.

It cannot be overstated that the current leadership found South African football in a mess.

But not all members of the current national executive committee are new to the leadership.

They found an organisation bleeding so much money it reported a R46?million loss in the last financial year.

Thank God, CEO Dennis Mumble tells me they have managed to stem the bleeding and hope to break even when the financial year ends in three months’ time.

They found a bumbling Bafana Bafana which didn’t know whether they were coming or going, and which failed to qualify for tournaments or win those they hosted.

They inherited junior national teams that didn’t qualify for anything.

Danny Jordaan and his crew took over an organisation with a large staff way over what Safa could afford.

Just last year, Absa and SABMiller, Safa’s major benefactors for years, drastically cut their funding.

So while one feels that something positive has happened in the past six months, it seems too little.

To turn things around and implement the transformation in finances as well as the national team’s performance they promised, they need to borrow from Baba uDumakude.

They must hurry up, but not too slowly.

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