Safa ponders new name for Bafana

2011-02-06 07:54

Safa might change the Bafana Bafana nickname following numerous legal battles around the monicker.

At its first national executive committee (NEC) meeting this year, at which Danny Jordaan once again emerged as the “go-to” man, the organisation yesterday resolved to look into changing the name.

Jordaan, who oversaw South Africa’s successful bidding for and hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, was tasked with spearheading the process and leading a team that will negotiate Safa’s broadcast contract with the SABC.

Besides these two announcements, the hastily arranged media conference – addressed by Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and vice-president Mwelo Nkonyana – turned out to be a damp squib, leading to one Sunday newspaper scribe sighing in exasperation: “It’s a joke!”

Nematandani failed dismally to address the two pressing issues that saw his organisation draw scathing headlines this week. He did not come clean on whether Leslie Sedibe was fired or resigned as CEO, and also shed no light on what Safa was doing to prevent the shambles around the arrangement of Wednesday’s Bafana friendly match against Kenya.

Nematandani also refused to confirm to City Press the R940 000 “performance bonus” – which works out to R78 333 a month – reportedly paid to Sedibe, who joined Safa in January last year.

Sedibe is said to have received a bonus of R1.3 million from the SA 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee for work done on the event. The former CEO could not be reached for comment yesterday as both his cellphones were off. Also, he had not responded to text messages by the time of going to press.

“I can’t comment on that as there is a confidentiality clause in our agreement,” was all Nematandani would say after telling the conference: “We reached an amicable agreement to part ways.”
Another contentious issue that the meeting decided to sweep under the carpet despite it being on the agenda was a letter written by North West NEC member Lefore “Buti” Lerefolo, in which he is said to have raised a number of issues.

Nematandani said the house felt that the matter should be discussed between himself and Lerefolo, as it did not belong at an NEC meeting. He said that among decisions taken at the meeting were:
» looking into the possibility of changing the Bafana Bafana nickname;
» the appointment of a Jordaan-led team to finalise broadcast contract negotiations with the SABC;
» that about 100 hectares of land be bought to build a high-performance centre;
» ratification of the panel of experts that will interview the 18 candidates short-listed for the job of CEO;
» that all stakeholders be called to a soccer indaba; and
» that a team be appointed to organise celebrations for Safa’s 23rd anniversary, which falls on March 23.

Nematandani said Jordaan’s team was expected to meet with the SABC on Wednesday. Interviews for the CEO position will start tomorrow and the panel is expected to come up with a short list of three candidates within two days.

The three candidates will then be subjected to a psychometric test and Nematandani said Safa hoped the chosen candidate would be able to start on April 1.

He said the feeling was that there were too many legalities around the Bafana name, hence the change. The process will be driven by Nematandani, Jordaan and NEC member Alpha Mchunu.

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