It's raining money in SA football, but where are the goals?

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

The South African Football Association (SAFA) reported a healthy profit of R23.1 million at their Annual Congress.

I say congratulations to them for turning a R45 million loss from their last financial year into this positive figure.

And not to be left behind, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced that they had extended their broadcast deal with SuperSport from 2019/20 for a further five years.

I say kudos to them too.

This means more maphepha into their coffers much as the figure has not been revealed but the last time the two parties extended in 2011, the agreement was said to be worth about R2.2 billion.

This should ensure that the Absa Premiership remains the richest league on the continent. SAFA’s good return also guarantees them that they will somehow be able to sustain their ambitious Vision 2022 launched when the new leadership came into office in 2013.

However, it is all fine and well for SAFA to report a profit, but as a football governing body, Bafana Bafana’s poor performances will always take the shine out of any positive things they do.

Fair enough, they need the moola to oil the wheels that make South African football, move forward but as the jewel in their crown, their performance is always likely to be judged by Bafana Bafana’s performance on the field.

Same with the Absa Premiership. As the football structure in charge of professional football in this country, they should do their best to ensure that South African players receive decent salaries.

They should also make it a point that they run a more than financially viable organisation.

However, there are two sore points that must be haunting the powers that be at the Parktown offices whenever they meet.

They are: the standard of football on the pitch (where it matters the most) and bums on seats.

Attendances have been dwindling at an alarming rate in the past years.

And some say the two - football quality on the field and bums on seats - are related.

Many will argue that the poor football we are witnessing on our fields accompanied by the draws - most of them goalless - are a huge factor that affects attendances.

It has become very common even for the biggest match in South Africa - the now overrated Soweto Derby - end in a goalless draw.

The goal drought points to the lack or poor development in our football.

This aspect falls squarely on the shoulders of SAFA who, as the football governing body in the country, is responsible for this aspect of the game.

However, many will argue that Bafana Bafana’s failure to find the back of the net with the required regularity is a direct result of the Absa Premiership strikers misfiring.

This makes sense as the bulk of Bafana Bafana players come from the domestic professional league with a sprinkling of overseas-based fellows.

The number of the latter has also been going down as our league no longer churns pout players who secure international contracts in big numbers.

So, in a nutshell, SAFA and the Absa Premiership have done well on the financial side but their major challenge remains these monies on their back.

The sooner they sort the out, the better for our football.

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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