Timspirit – I doff my hat to Safa, the SABC and minister Mbalula

2011-10-08 19:34

The South African Football Association (Safa) should be applauded for putting the interest of the nation ahead of personal interest.

While other individuals and national bodies rake in millions from broadcast rights, Safa has sold its rights for nothing as it got a paltry R1.8 million for yesterday’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Sierra Leone.

This inspiring move must be commended as it shows good leadership from those who are at the helm of our football.

After two black-out matches against the same Leone Stars and Niger, both Safa and the public broadcaster have displayed the culture of Batho Pele (putting people first).

To say South Africans were gatvol with the SABC’s failure to televise the two games would be an understatement, the nation was seething with anger as a result of the blackout.

This should not have been the case from the onset had the two organisations put the nation’s interest first.

Showing Bafana matches is not negotiable, it is a must for the public broadcaster.

But like wise men, the two organisations came to their senses and sanity prevailed in the end.

But the question which I find difficult to fathom is: why did it have to take sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s intervention?

Granted, this Mbalula guy is really ushering in a new era in our sports. He is a hands-on, ­hard-working man who is really clued up on what legacy he wants to leave behind.

Be that as it may, I still want to know why sports officials can’t remove the burden from our sports minister by showing maturity and being proactive.

As the number one sport in the country, soccer, particularly Bafana games, should always be shown on telly – irrespective of where matches are being played.

Now that Safa has shown distinctive leadership, the challenge is now for the SABC to also make an undertaking that soapies, particularly Generations, do not take precedence over Bafana games.

As much as the SABC caters for different markets, it should also make provision for Bafana matches.

This unpalatable culture of having midweek Bafana matches starting at 9.35pm should be obliterated as these matches happen only once in many moons.

My bone of contention is that most of those who follow soccer are the youths who normally want to take a cue from their role models.
Showing delayed live matches results in most of these future stars missing the games on TV as they are asleep by then.

SABC officials have consistently refused to take the blame for these shenanigans, but now that the ball is in their court, we wait with bated breath to see whether they will come to the party.

For now, I would like to doff my hat to the industrious minister Mbalula, Safa leadership and the public broadcaster.

You have shown the path and we now expect more. Soccer is the number one sport and nothing should come ahead of this game of millions.

Let us return to the good old days!!

– timothy@citypress.co.za

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