Safa name search continues

2011-04-13 11:05

The SA Football Association (Safa) said yesterday it would continue its search for a new name for the national soccer team, but stood firm in its refusal to confirm whether or not the name would actually change.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani confirmed in a statement that a three-member committee comprising himself, vice-president Danny Jordaan and Alpha Mchunu had been tasked to find a new name for Bafana Bafana.

“We look forward to engaging the nation in finding a new name,” Nematandani said.

“However, with respect to the current name, we will also look at any reasonable proposals from anyone, but the committee will continue with its work as mandated by the Safa National Executive Committee on February 5.

“The Association has directed a letter to all interested parties and we await a response to our communiqué to them in this regard.

“It is in the interest of Safa to ensure that it receives an income from the exploitation of the trademark and we would not want to delay this process any further.”

The company that owns the rights to the use of the Bafana Bafana trademark on apparel, headwear and footwear said earlier in the week that Safa’s lawyers had informed them the official nickname would change.

Nematandani, however, said the federation had never held talks with Wayne Smidt, the owner of Stanton Woodrush (Pty) Ltd, because he refused to answer his phone or return messages.

“When we got his (Smidt) contact number, we gave him a call but his phone was off, and he has never replied to the numerous messages we left for him,” Nematendani said.

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula was in full support of disbanding the Bafana name for a more “intimidating” commercial nickname. The current name, Bafana Bafana, means “the boys” in Zulu.

“Name change is a debate worth looking at. We are well respected in the African continent,” Mbalula said last month.

“We are climbing the Fifa rankings and I wonder if we still need that name [Bafana Bafana].”

This idea was also backed by Jordaan, the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee chief executive.

He said: “Zimbabwe was changed from Rhodesia and even my home city Port Elizabeth is now known as Nelson Mandela Bay.

“For as long as the name Bafana Bafana has existed, there have been those who were opposed to it. It has been viewed as demeaning in some instances because it means ’boys’ and these are grown men we are talking about.”

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