Pressing issues: The writing is on the wall, but Safa refuses to see it

2014-02-16 14:00

Is the SA Football Association (Safa) a toothless dog whose bark is worse than its bite? This question comes to mind after Safa’s special meeting on Thursday, at which we had been told Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s fate would be decided.

Needless to say, the meeting became a damp squib and Igesund is still more than alive and kicking.

All sorts of stories had been circulating, including in this paper, about how the coach was to be axed after all the reported shenanigans that went down at the recent African

Nations Championship tournament.

But just as many expected, no decisive action was taken at the “crucial” Safa meeting. According to part of a statement released after the meeting, Safa has “taken note that the head coach

has failed to deliver on his mandates for the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the [Africa Cup of Nations] 2013 tournament as well as the [African Nations Championship] 2014”.

It went on further: “Notwithstanding, the meeting decided that the association does not want to act in an impromptu manner, but rather must plan systematically for immediate and future programmes of the men’s senior national team and all of the other national teams?...

“In this regard, it was decided at the meeting the head coach must continue with his work and, in particular, get the men’s senior national team ready for the match between Bafana Bafana and Brazil, scheduled for March 5 2014.

“Lastly, the meeting notes the serious allegations that have been made against the head coach – that he allegedly instigated some or all players of the men’s senior national team during the [African Nations Championship] to demand bonuses.

“In this regard, the meeting decided to appoint a six-member committee?...?to investigate the allegations and report to the national executive committee within 30 days.”

Upon hearing about the outcome and reading the statement, all I could say was: “Come on! Toss another one.” Can you blame me, seeing we still await (no longer with bated breath) the outcome of Chief Mwelo

Nonkonyana’s hearing after his suspension as Safa vice-president in October?

Only in South African football do you need to find reasons to fire someone who has clearly failed to meet all their mandates. Thing is, there have never been any repercussions for people who fail Safa.

Show me any organisation that could arrange and spend billions on hosting three world-class tournaments (the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2014 African Nations Championship) only for the national team to underperform in all, sans reproach.

I doubt you can come up with one.

Since the African Nations Championship ended two weeks ago, we still haven’t heard of any sanctions against anyone involved – from the head coach, team manager and head of delegation to the captain and the players.

All these people were paid handsome daily allowances and booked into a top Cape Town hotel – and they are still to answer for their incompetence.

For how much longer will people milk Safa and get away with it? Only Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was bold enough to call the players a “bunch of losers”. To date, no one has responded to Mbaks’ question as to what this generation of players has won.

We were told a new era was ushered in with the election of the new Safa leadership in September but we still have to see how clean their broom sweeps.

Safa president Danny Jordaan will have to be firm and become a man of action if he ever wants to see his so-called vision 2022 become a reality.

While democracy calls for everybody’s participation and people’s rights to be respected, successful leaders are usually those who make the right decisions and stand by them, no matter how unpopular they are.

Whoever came up with the saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” was not daydreaming. Trying to go against this notion has proven to be the downfall of many weak leaders.

For our football to progress and get to the level where most South Africans expect and know it can be, Safa needs to be both decisive and develop a bite that is worse than its bark.

I can hear you, dear reader, saying: “Please sir, tell us something new, something we don’t already know.” My response would be a reiteration of what Roger De Sa has said: “The problem with South African football is that it’s always the same s**t, just different flies.” Safa, for the sake of our football, please prove us wrong just once.

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