SAFA hits back at unions: Local sponsors aren't stepping up

The South African Football Association has hit back at critics who lambasted the choice of a Turkish clothing manufacturer to sponsor suits for national soccer team Bafana Bafana, saying local sponsors have failed to step up.

The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and Proudly South Africa earlier said in a statement that they said they had "noted with dismay the photos of Bafana Bafana travelling to and from Egypt for their recent AFCON campaign wearing wholly imported suits sponsored by D's Damat".

This came as the SA government was pushing a buy local campaign in an attempt to stimulate the local economy, with President Cyril Ramaphosa famously giving his State of the Nation Address in a suit locally made by House of Monatic. At the time, Ramaphosa said government would work to "grow South African manufacturing by making sure the ‘Buy Local’ campaign is everywhere and ever-present". 

SAFA spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi told Fin24 that it was a struggle to secure sponsorship from local companies. 

''The issue on lack of sponsorship for football is well documented, local companies are not coming on board," he said. "Where are the local companies that are willing to sponsor us?"

He said Turkish company D's Damat had approached SAFA, who welcomed the sponsorship. 

SAFA is also sponsored by Nike, but this has not drawn the same kind of outcry, Chimhavi added.

It is not the first time that South African unions have criticised foreign clothing sponsorships. In 2012, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) came under fire from Cosatu, Sactwu and others because the SA Olympic and Paralympic Games team kit was set to be produced by Chinese manufacturer Erke.

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