Safa vice-president and presidential candidate Ria Ledwaba has made it clear that the time for change is now. She will challenge incumbent Danny Jordaan for the Safa presidency alongside Safa Tshwane president Solly Ngwako Mohlabeng in a three-horse race for the control of South African football.
On Wednesday, Ledwaba briefed a well-attended press conference at FNB Stadium, detailing her plans for the organisation.
WATCH: Ria Ledwaba: SAFA Presidential Candidate Press Conference
In her corner were former Bafana Bafana players Mark Fish and Brian Baloyi, as well as former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns legend Jan “Malombo” Lechaba and erstwhile Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble.
Among those who have publicly endorsed Ledwaba’s campaign are former Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane, ex-Bafana fan favourite Doctor Khumalo and former Banyana Banyana captain Portia Modise.
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Ledwaba spoke for almost an hour and was interrupted only by applause, even from some members of the media, on 14 occasions.
Here are the four key areas she intends to tackle should she be elected president on June 25:
1. INVESTING IN GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT
There are 343 local football associations (LFAs) in South Africa. Ledwaba revealed that there was no funding for these LFAS:
“If an LFA has the money, it is because the clubs have paid registration fees. We need to change that.”
SHe said with her as Safa president, the LFAs would be resourced and capacitated to come up with developmental initiatives.
“Fifa has a model of funding, but these individuals that are running the LFAs have to be guided. They have to be assisted and told that there are funds at Fifa. If you have projects, you can send proposals to Fifa.”
She said the R35 000 which clubs at regional level get per season was not enough to sustain their developmental responsibilities.
“The clubs at ABC Motsepe League level have a grant of a mere R35 000, if they are lucky. You must underline this – if they are lucky.”
“The clubs at regional ABC Motsepe level must be guided. They must be able to have companies that will assist them, and we do have those companies in South Africa that could be placed in all nine provinces.”
2. INVESTING IN WOMEN’S FOOTBALL
Ledwaba spoke passionately about women’s football:
“Until today, there is no women’s department in Safa. There are no women heading such a department. The change must come. We need that committee.”
She said that women’s football was always “last on the agenda when everyone is rushing for their flight”.
3. CREATING REVENUE STREAMS
The Safa presidential candidate also pledged to help Safa create its own revenue streams, as opposed to relying solely on sponsorships.
“Currently, we are struggling to get sponsorships.”
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Ledwaba suggested Safa’s sponsorship struggles may be because the corporate sector does not have faith in the incumbent Jordaan, who is gunning for an unprecedented third term.
“I believe that sponsors don’t sponsor Safa, sponsors sponsor the leadership that they believe in.”
She believes that sponsors trust an individual whom they believe will use their money for good and protect their image:
She suggested finding manufacturers to partner with.
“Imagine if with each player, when they get an outfit from this manufacturer, Safa gets R10,” she said.
“We want to make sure that we generate our own revenue. We’ve got 144 teams nationally in the ABC Motsepe League and another 144 in [the Sasol Women’s League].”
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“They use transport to go to matches and they don’t have it. They must go and hire transport. The teams can’t be struggling just to get accommodation and sleep in a 22-seater bus because they could not get accommodation. We want to take care of our teams.”
4. REVIVING SPORT IN SCHOOLS
Given the chance, Ledwaba plans to use former football players to pioneer and revive schools sports.
Pointing to where Bafana legends sat, Ledwaba said:
Ledwaba said she consulted widely before accepting the nomination and was confident of victory.