The History of South African Soccer - Part 10

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 21st Jul 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Football (Soccer)

The tenth part of a series focusing on South African football. In this installment, we focus on the South African Football Association (SAFA).

The curious case of SAFA

You would think that an organisation in charge of the country's most popular sport would be a tightly run ship but sadly, this isn't the case.

That isn't to say SAFA haven't done any good. In fact, it is thanks to the efforts of SAFA (through the leadership of Dr Danny Jordaan and Dr Irvin "The Iron Duke " Khoza which is ironic seeing their rivalry) that South Africa has been able to host multiple AFCONs, CHANs, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and most importantly, the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But while they have done well to boost South Africa's football image through their marketing and commercial exploits (Dr Jordaan is part of the International Marketing Council), a person gets the sense that they could do a lot more. Public perception of SAFA is low and any talk about them is usually met with skepticism or cynicism.

And it is all with good reason as bad governance and incompetence have become synonymous with SAFA.

In his book "The Road to Serfdom", Friedrich Hayeck draws a conclusion that states that power tends to attract predatory people because of the opportunities it gives them. The claim is that having and exercising power is bad from a moral perspective as it leads people wielding it to see others as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. This is not forgetting the temptation to get and enjoy the benefits of said power such as the wealth, comfort, status and more importantly the ability to get away with things that would otherwise put one on the wrong side of either judicial or moral law.

If you think about it, power itself doesn't corrupt as there are people who either have or have yielded power that haven't gone rogue in the same way that there are also predatory people who don't have any power and are unable to corrupt. If anything, power leads to a need to maintain or increase that power.

I don't have the right to question the (for lack of a better word) morality of the people in charge at SAFA. After all, in John 8:7 Jesus did say "if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" and I have quite a few skeletons in my closet.

Having said that, SAFA doesn't exactly help themselves in convincing people that they aren't as crooked as most think.
I mean,we are talking about:

• An organisation which had forty-six employees arrested in 2004 over corruption, bribery and match-fixing within the PSL.
• An organisation that was implicated by the FBI via their investigation on FIFA for allegedly paying a 10 million dollar bribe to disgraced former CONCACAF president Jack Warner in order to secure their 2010 FIFA World Cup bid (the official statement from SAFA states that they gave the money to the Diaspora Legacy Programme to be "administered and implemented directly" by Jack Warner).
• An organisation whos former president (Mr Kirsten Nematandani) was banned for five years in 2016 for violating FIFAs Code of Ethics because of match-fixing.

Disregarding the rumours,these are just some of the allegations thrown at SAFAs direction and while it is true that innocence should be presumed until guilt is proven, there is rarely smoke without fire.

Even if one was to put the shady stuff aside, SAFA still has a smell of bad governance about them.

How can an organisation only have the same two people vying for presidency for twelve straight years? Surely there are other people (who are unaffiliated with the two) that are also capable of doing the job?

How is it that the organisation only just placed a woman in a senior position when they elected their first female vice-president (never mind the presidency) in Mme Ria Ledwaba when both her and Mme Mato Madladla have been involved in the game for more than 15 years?

How is it that for all the furor about the ABSA Premiership being one of the top leagues in Africa, the development is still at a low standard? Where are all the up and coming players or coaches ( and no, a player that is 24 is not a developmental player)?

The facilities are there and seeing the revenue the league generates, the money is there but a lot is still lacking.

At some point, one has to ask:
Why is the performance failing to match the image put out?

Sources include:

The Road to Serfdom - Friedrich Hayek


Football, History, Soccer, South Africa

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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