Safa circus seeking a ringmaster

2011-02-05 19:03

One would laugh if it was not such an absurd and grave matter. The circus going on at the South African Football Association (Safa) is cause for concern.

After hosting what the world football governing body, the Federation of International Football (Fifa) referred to as “a successful World Cup)”, one would have expected Safa to use this as a springboard for a quantum leap into the future.

The shenanigans at Safa House are, however, indicative of a radarless organisation.

Sadly, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, who emerged unopposed in the last elections after the withdrawal of top candidates Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan, has failed to show the kind of leadership required to chart the way forward for the organisation.

Even his answers to simple questions do not inspire any confidence. In fact, he frequently sounds like a person who does not know whether he is coming or going.

Take the issue around CEO Leslie Sedibe. Safa made it succinctly clear when they appointed him in January last year that his contract would expire on January 6 2011.

But they begged him to stay on “until a suitable replacement is found”, only to unceremoniously part ways with him this week. Even when they asked international affairs director Pinky Lehoko to act as CEO, they said she would be ­assisted by chief financial officer ­Grony Hluyo – a classic sign of gross leadership indecisiveness.

Why appoint to such a top post someone who needs assistance? If they had confidence in Lehoko, who has served Safa with distinction in all positions she has been appointed to, why not let her run the show?

Who – between Lehoko and Hluyo – will carry the can should things go awry during this period?

By midweek Safa had not started selling tickets for Bafana Bafana’s friendly, scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

Reason: They still had not secured opponents for the friendly match, announcing only on Thursday that they had clinched Kenya, who were initially scheduled to play Zambia.

Nematandani’s comments to The Star this week on the process of appointing a CEO are indicative of a confused  individual.

Among other things, he said: “I don’t know ... it could take up to a year, who knows”; “We had 101 applications and we have now cut the list down to 18”; and “We cannot set a date as to when we will have a new CEO, because if we do not get what we are looking for from the current list, a new search will have to begin.”

And then there were the releases from Safa’s media department, which kept on telling us that the next Bafana international friendly was on Wednesday 9, January 2011.

Safa have still not finalised the broadcast contract although their current agreement with the SABC comes to an end in March.

When was the last time Safa announced a new sponsorship, or any partnership?

It is not even clear whether this is used as a yardstick for their CEOs when they occupy their positions.

There are still those little matters of the suspended commercial director, Victor Nosi, and former Bafana team manager Sipho ­Nkumane, who was “fired” and is taking the matter on appeal. The list of bungles continues.

Unless Safa puts their house in order, they will continue to embarass this beloved country. The question is whether to laugh, or wail.

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