Watch | Ria's Safa campaign promises: Drive change and development

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Ria Ledwaba has made her intentions clear that she will not back down. Photo by Gallo Images
Ria Ledwaba has made her intentions clear that she will not back down. Photo by Gallo Images


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.

READ: Safa presidential race: Ria makes it to the list, Mahlangu misses out

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:


There are 343 local football associations (LFAs) in South Africa. Ledwaba revealed that there was no funding for these LFAS:

As I speak, there is no funding for the LFAs, a structure in charge of grassroots-level football in this country. They are not funded.

“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 time is now for resources to be spent where it matters the most, and that is the LFA level. That’s where our resources must go and that is where change will come from. Safa money must be concentrated on the LFAs.

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.”


Ledwaba spoke passionately about women’s football: 

One of the things that I will fight [for] is the women’s committee, which has been removed [from Safa governance structures]. Fifa has given a clear directive – every federation must have a women’s department and that department must be run by women.

“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”.


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.”

READ: Tim Spirit | SA football is for all of us, not just those in charge of running it

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:

We want to make sure we generate our own funds. We only sell Bafana Bafana. We have more than 3 000 players. Each player needs an outfit and soccer boots.

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].”

READ: SAFA boss demands R3 million for FB defamation

“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.”


Given the chance, Ledwaba plans to use former football players to pioneer and revive schools sports.

Pointing to where Bafana legends sat, Ledwaba said:

Who are the best people to run school sports for Safa? It is the masters and legends. Mark Fish, what are you doing? Brian Baloyi, what are you doing? You are outside the structure. You need to be empowered. This is the change we will bring. We cannot have our legends outside of football. Nothing about football without footballers. We must have footballers playing a part.

Ledwaba said she consulted widely before accepting the nomination and was confident of victory.


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