Mokoena keen to ‘save SA’s athletics’, but lacks a nomination

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Former KZN Athletics president Sello Mokoena is eyeing the Athletics South Africa presidency despite questions about his status.
Former KZN Athletics president Sello Mokoena is eyeing the Athletics South Africa presidency despite questions about his status.

In spite of virtually nobody publicly backing suspended KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Association (KZNA) president Sello Mokoena for the presidency of Athletics South Africa (ASA), he claims many people in the sport have pleaded with him to “save it”.

The highly-anticipated ASA elections are scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 8, in Kempton Park, Gauteng.

Mokoena is expected to go toe to toe with his long-time foe, predecessor in KZN, and incumbent ASA boss Aleck Skhosana, who has not confirmed if he is going for the hot seat again. However, it looks like Mokoena still needs to get a club to nominate him — as well as a province to endorse his nomination — before the cut-off date on March 3. This is after Phantane Athletics Club refuted claims that Mokoena was one of their members and that they were prepared to nominate him.

ASA rules clearly state that for a person to be eligible to run in the elections, they should be nominated by a club and endorsed by their province.

Mokoena, who was suspended by ASA as the president of the provincial body in 2018, believes the sport in the country is in serious trouble and needs someone like him to help it thrive again. “I have been contacted by a lot of ASA and KZNA people who pleaded with me to enter the elections and run for presidency,” he said.

READ | OPINION: An opportunity to rebuild KZNA

“They said that they really believe I have what it takes to save athletics as a sport because, quite frankly, the sport is in serious trouble. Not just in the province, but also in South Africa as a whole. So, together with other people who have what it takes to save the sport, I will try my level best to help.”

In his view, the smooth-talking Mokoena said, one of the main reasons the sport was struggling was that the current leadership was not doing enough to market the sport and generate income. “I don’t know when was the last time we watched local athletics events live on TV. I think the last time was when one watched the Comrades Marathon two years ago, but in other sport codes, we always have live broadcasts,” he said.

“That tells you how strong that sport is and how it is managed. If you don’t have a broadcast partner, you can’t get sponsors. Sponsors need live broadcasts of the event to be able to make some money and for the sport to be exposed to people and kids to be inspired to take the sport as well. It’s not just me who is saying these things, but they are there for everyone to see. We are not doing well.”

Member of KZNA Task Team, Steve Mkasi, told The Witness on Thursday that KwaZulu-Natal will decide whether to endorse Mokoena once they receive his nomination.

“If it happens, we will receive the application and we will deal with it. And whoever nominates him must satisfy queries on whether the suspension that was given to him ASA has been uplifted or the disciplinary matter has been resolved in his favour.”
KZNA Task Team member Steve Mkasi

“If his nomination meets our scrutiny, we will endorse it, but if it doesn’t, we will not endorse it,” said Mkasi.

“For now, as far as we are concerned, he is not a member of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics because he doesn’t belong to any club in the province. We have not received any application for his nomination, so we don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

“If it happens, we will receive the application and we will deal with it. And whoever nominates him must satisfy queries on whether the suspension that was given to him ASA has been uplifted or the disciplinary matter has been resolved in his favour.”

Mokoena said about his suspension: “ASA made a mistake by breaching the constitution as they defied the court judgment. The court took the decision that ASA doesn’t have the right to suspend KZNA.”

An interesting election is on the cards.

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