Safa’s master plan takes shape

2012-12-09 10:00

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SA football is in trouble and it will take hard work and sweat for Safa to realise its big dream of turning things around, writes Timothy Molobi

Safa leadership has stopped short of conceding failure in developing South African football.

The redeployment of chief executive officer Robin Petersen to set up the Safa Development Agency is a last-ditch attempt to revive football.

President Kirsten Nematandani admitted that the state of football was not where it should be and something had to give. He said there was a need for a clear development plan and that their technical master plan was the starting point.

This comes after the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) report on the art, philosophy and science of football in South Africa which, among other things, pointed out that there are poor levels of investment in youth football development, which resulted in the lack of a clear and regulated system.

“It is time we went back to the drawing board and started from scratch,” said Nematandani.

“If you discover that things are not going well, you need to act and this is what we are doing.”

He said South African junior teams’ failure to qualify for CAF championships was a reflection of the level of the country’s development.

Last weekend the national Under-17 team lost out to Ghana in the CAF African Youth Championship qualifier.

They followed in the footsteps of the Under-20’s failure to book a place at the youth championship too.

Last year, the national Under-23 failed to qualify for the London Olympic Games, while Bafana Bafana have not played in three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations since their last appearance in 2008.

“We have been fooling ourselves all along, thinking we were on the right path. We had delusions of grandeur and if we did qualify for the 2012 Afcon finals and the Olympic Games, we would not be where we are now,” said Petersen.

“But there is a silver lining and with proper planning, we will get there.”

Petersen’s ambitious plan is to raise R200 million a year to kick-start the agency and he is confident of succeeding in this venture.

He claimed he had already made headway after successful meetings with some businessmen.

“Our aim is to consistently be in the top three in the CAF rankings and in the top 20 in the world, and we believe this is achievable but we have to start now.”

Petersen said his move was not a reflection of the battles he had been fighting at Safa.

“I came at a time when we had to renew key sponsorship and turn the association around. But I can look back with pride that we concluded the best broadcast deal and restructuring is going well.”

- City Press

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