The sorry state of soccer

2009-10-03 00:00

The South African Football Association (Safa) is a circus, just like Athletics South Africa (ASA).

The recent chaos at the Safa annual general meeting just shows how seriously we take the game of billions and how individuals continue to pursue their own selfish agendas.

Those who have been trusted and were elected into key positions have unequivocally shown us that they deem themselves as bigger than the game and even the players, who are the commodity and the brand that is South African soccer.

Without the players, how significant would these elected vagabonds be and how much clout or bargaining power would they have? The same can be asked about ASA. Who would Leonard Chuene be without Caster Semenya, Aaron Mokoena or Mbulaeni Mulaudzi? He would be a zero.

Outgoing Safa president Molefi Olifant has been at the helm for some 12 years, yet he has nothing to show for it.

On second thoughts, he does have a lot to show for it. All the flops that have characterised the organisation can be attributed purely to his lack of leadership and vision for Safa.

How many times have Bafana players gone into tournaments only to go on strike on the eve of their first game because they did not know how they would be paid? This pattern of behaviour has been the order of the day.

How about his almost arbitrarily hiring current coach Joel Santana as the national team coach, a trainer with no previous experience at national level nor noticeable success at club level? This at R1,4 million per month nogal.

You cannot tell me we could not have sourced a better and more qualified coach within our borders.

Of course, thanks for the reminder that we look down on our own.

Even if a local coach had been hired, this would have been at way less than R1 million a month. Coaches like Shakes Mashaba, Clive Barker and Jomo Sono have been more successful than most, if not all, of the foreign coaches whom Olifant and company have hired.

To add insult to injury, Olifant’s puppets at Safa saw fit to make him lifetime president. What for? For paying bribes so that we could get the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup finals in South Africa?

It’s a pity that the new Safa president, Kirsten Nematandani, is said to be in the Danny Jordaan camp as this means that the status quo will remain, with the faces merely changing.

Because of the elected members’ political connectivity, they have remained untouchable as they are “comrades” and there has been little political will on the part of our government to deal decisively with the mess that engulfs the state of the game in this country.

Mark Fish hit the nail on the head when he said players have come and gone, yet the only constant in the game has been the office bearers.

This is the problem that has been and continues to be a part of the local game.

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