Stix set goals for SA soccer

2011-07-04 08:28

I must admit that the content of your article brought tears to my eyes. It took

me back almost 17 years! It all ­happened on my first day in ­office as

secretary-general of ­Safa.

On that day Safa president ­Solomon “Stix” Morewa and I discussed at length the dream of South Africa hosting the Fifa World Cup.

He was clearly inspired by the fact that the US had just ­successfully hosted the 1994 Fifa World Cup, which he had attended a few months earlier. He always believed that we could emulate the US or do even better.

I can still remember the ­sparkle in his eye as he ­described his experiences and also the euphoria that had been ­created around the just completed World Cup. He was clear that hosting the World Cup should be Safa’s goal.

We agreed that we should ­inform Fifa of our goal to host the 2006 Fifa World Cup and obtain the necessary information so that we could start working on that plan.

I drafted the letter, which the two of us signed and dispatched to Fifa on that same day.
Furthermore, when we were approached by Caf in November 1994 to host the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after Kenya had withdrawn, “Stix” ­argued that we should take on that ­responsibility as it would be a true test of our ability to host the 2006 Fifa World Cup.

Needless to say, we did indeed successfully host the 1996 ­Afcon, which our senior national team won, beating Tunisia 2-0 on February 3, 1996.

You are correct that this feat has not been repeated.

That night, during the closing dinner ceremony at Sandton Sun Hotel, we shared tears of joy as we celebrated the feat of ensuring that the tournament was a success and we were confident that the 2006 Fifa World Cup was not a pipe?dream.

It was possible to run a tournament of that magnitude.

As you know, I left Safa to pursue my career in banking during September 1996. Despite this, I was requested by “Stix” Morewa to play a leading role in representing Safa during the ­sitting of the Pickard ­Commission, which I did.

I was also fortunate to serve as a venue manager in Polokwane for the 2010 Fifa World Cup and I shed a tear on the opening day of the tournament.

Sadly, Morewa resigned as president of Safa in January 1997 as a result of the findings of the Pickard Commission, something that I am still ­battling to comprehend.

We remained in contact until his passing in September 2005, which sadly meant that he did not realise the fruition of his dream in 2010.

I have to agree with you that he was a true visionary leader.
Just as an aside, “Stix” was the one who christened me with the nickname of “Donadoni” way back in July 1990.

(Donald “Donadoni” Norman was Safa secretary-general from 1994 to 1996 and writes in his personal capacity)

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