Meeting SummaryThe South African Football Association (SAFA) briefed the Committee on the reasons concerning the national team’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the crisis concerning the release of players for the under-23 team for qualification for the 2012 London Olympics. The SAFA leadership was concerned that the South African National team did not qualify for AFCON 2012 because there was a question about the interpretation of the rules. SAFA accepted that it failed the nation and the SAFA leadership took responsibility and reiterated that apology.
Regarding the release of under-23 players for the Olympic qualification tournament, FIFA had its own calendar with official qualifying dates. According to FIFA regulations, clubs were obligated to release player for these FIFA calendar dates. The dates fell within the Confederation of African Football calendar dates, but did not fall within the FIFA calendar dates, thus clubs were not obligated to release their players. SAFA would have to negotiate for each PSL club to give the National team one player for a total of 16 players. Some clubs agreed to provide the national team with the players that SAFA wanted, while some have not provided SAFA any players at all. This had presented SAFA with a conundrum. SAFA and the Premier Soccer League were working hard at negotiations.
SAFA presented its National Development Framework, which focused on three areas: football infrastructure, social support and player development at the summit of the pyramid. There were currently 30 artificial pitches and throughout the country and the goal was to eventually reach 52. SAFA wanted to have a centralised database of between 3.5-4 million players throughout country in order to track talent identification at a local and national level. The Grassroots football programme was a FIFA priority, there were 700 coaches trained so far at the grassroots level. SAFA was in the process of ensuring that at the regional levels there were under-13, under-15, under-17 and under-19 leagues all the way to provincial leagues.
The failure to qualify for AFCON 2012 was a setback; as a result SAFA instituted a number of internal processes. There were four areas of failure: 1) Process failure: reading the rules and regulations was taken for granted. 2) Technical failure: there was an incorrect assumption based on earlier CAF regulations that mentioned goal difference, was the way to determining the two qualifiers, but not the group winner. The team made assumptions based on FIFA qualification rules (as opposed to CAF qualification rules), ambiguities and problems were not clarified before hand. 3) Management support failure: legal support needed to be involved in rules and regulations briefing 4) CAF issues: the rules were ambiguous and published late. SAFA took the corrective action of apologising and taking internal disciplinary measures and chose not to fire anyone, as it was a collective mistake. SAFA allocated responsibility to the head of delegation to boost national capacity.
Committee members stated that the belated apologies were unacceptable and it was unacceptable that SAFA could not understand the rules. Concerns were raised that players needed to be released from their clubs and that the Premier Soccer League was undermining one another and in turn undermining the country. What role did SAFA play in the school sports programme? What was SAFA doing to market the women’s team?
The Chairperson opened the meeting and stated that there was concern about the under-23 South African football team’s qualification for the 2012 London Olympics and the release of players from their clubs. The media reports surrounding the team was troubling. Under preparation was a problem and these issues did not happen in other countries. The Chairperson stated that if the Committee needed to call the South African Football Association (SAFA) back to Parliament together with Premier Soccer League (PSL) representatives then it would. He asked the SAFA delegation to explain what happened with the qualification for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) because this sort of thing did not happen in other sporting codes.
Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Vice-President of SAFA informed the Committee that SAFA President Kristen Nematandani was in
Mr Nonkonyana stated that the SAFA leadership was concerned that Bafana Bafana (South African National team) did not qualify for AFCON 2012. There was a question about the interpretation of the rules. SAFA accepted that it failed the nation and the leadership took responsibility and reiterated that apology. Hopefully Parliament accepted the apology.
The Chairperson stated that next year,
Dr Robin Peterson, CEO of SAFA responded that the rules governing rugby were very different than those governing football. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) had its own calendar with official qualifying dates. According to FIFA regulations, clubs were obligated to release players for these FIFA calendar dates. Problems arose when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had its own rules for Olympic qualification. CAFs rules were different from Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)’s. Through a series of qualifying matches,
Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) stated that one year after a fantastic World Cup brought funds to South African football, SAFA had sunk. The apologies that came belatedly after the failure to qualify for the AFCON qualifiers were totally unacceptable. It was unacceptable for
Mr D Lee (DA) stated that the football team was under-prepared, and added that he was unprepared for this meeting and it was unfair that SAFA did not circulate their briefing in advance to Committee members. This was the last time that he would attend a meeting where the documents were circulated at the meeting. He emphatically stated: “No documents: no Donald Lee, no DA”. He asked whether the issue of players being picked was a new concern. It seemed as if the PSL and SAFA wanted to undermine one another and this was undermining the country. In the interest of
Mr J McGluwa (ID) stated that he was also unprepared for the meeting because documents were not circulated to Committee Members in advance. He asked whether AFCON qualification would be addressed in the presentation.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) suggested that the Committee first allow SAFA to present its briefing before engaging with the issues.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their inputs and state that Committee members represented the people, and needed to let SAFA know what the people were saying regarding football in
South African Football Association (SAFA) on qualification of National Team for 2012 AFCON and under-23 Team for 2012 London Olympics
Dr Robin Peterson responded as a point of clarification to Mr MacKenzie’s statement on AFCON, that South Africa did not qualify for AFCON 2012 in Gabon. However as hosts,
Dr Peterson stated that on the issue of value chain the goal was that by the time a player reached the top level, the player would have at least six to eight years of international exposure. The Grassroots football programme was a FIFA priority, there were 700 coaches trained so far at the grassroots level. SAFA was in the process of ensuring that at the regional levels there were under-13, under-15, under-17 and under-19 leagues all the way to provincial leagues. This would drive the regional talent identification through SAFA’s football infrastructure where there would be an artificial pitch and clubhouse and the players would be fed into the regional non-residential academy and then move the player into a provincial academy and then to the national academy. This rich pipeline of talent would feed talent into the National under-17 team.
After the new Senior National team coach Pitso Mosimane was appointed in 2010, he created a vision called ‘Vision 2014’ for how the team would be led. The key objectives were to achieve second round qualification for World Cup 2014. In order to do that
The failure to qualify for AFCON 2012 was a setback, as a result SAFA instituted a number of internal processes to answer the questions of: how did it happen, who was accountable and what lesson were learned? There were four areas of failure: 1) Process failure: reading the rules and regulations was taken for granted. 2) Technical failure: there was an incorrect assumption based on earlier CAF regulations that mentioned goal difference, was the way to determining the two qualifiers, but not the group winner. The team made assumptions based on FIFA qualification rules (as opposed to CAF qualification rules), ambiguities and problems were not clarified before hand. 3) Management support failure: legal support needed to be involved in rules and regulations briefing and the head of delegation needed a training boost 4) CAF issues: the rules were ambiguous and published late. This was the first time in AFCON qualifying that there were three teams, who finished on equal points and the team with the best goal difference did not go through.
The corrective actions that were taken was an apology from SAFA. The apology took a while because SAFA needed to review legal processes, and decided not to follow through with an appeal of the qualification result. It was incorrect to say that SAFA did not apologise; Dr Peterson stated that every time he was in the media he apologised. Coach Mosimane was instructed not to speak to the media in the wake of the qualification debacle. SAFA concluded internal disciplinary measures and chose not to fire anyone, as it was a collective mistake. SAFA allocated responsibility to the head of delegation to boost national capacity. Based on a legal opinion, SAFA had formally asked CAF to review and change its qualification rules for the future. CAF were reviewing the request and would report back to SAFA with a legal opinion.
Getting back on track, SAFA’s goal was for Bafana Bafana to win its qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. The team must also win during the 2013 AFCON. In order to prepare for these challenges SAFA had arranged for series of competitive friendly matches beginning with the
Regarding the qualification tournament of the 2012 London Olympics, Dr Peterson appeal to committee to assist SAFA in finding a solution to the player release problem, as SAFA was limited in its mandate.
The Chairperson thanked the CEO for presentation and opened floor to discussion
Mr McGluwa stated that when it was simple: when partaking in any competition rules were submitted beforehand. The timeframe of January through September was enough time for SAFA to learn the rules regarding qualification. The Deputy of SAFA was sitting on the CAF board, what was his responsibility? Mr McGluwa suggested that perhaps all the role players were not present before the Committee today. Coach Mosimane had complained however there was no way that Bafana Bafana would win a game in the boardroom. Mr McGluwa indicated that he had pulled the rules for qualification off the Internet and they were simple enough that a child could understand them. This was complete incompetence from SAFA and the only positive thing that SAFA did for the country in this instance was to withdraw the appeal. Why did the coach not study the rules himself? The coach needed to take responsibility. How dare
Ms L Mjobo (ANC) asked whether the leadership of SAFA knew the rules, and if they deserved to lead the country.
Mr M Mdakane (ANC) stated that the Committee would like to see the artificial turf in the interest of the society to ensure that there was proper development in the country as a whole. SAFA should ensure that football in
Ms S Lebenya-Ntanzi (ANC) stated that it was a well-known fact that black people in this country were naturally good at football. The question was how gifted children in rural areas were given the opportunity to showcase their talent? What programmes did SAFA have to address that? There was a new programme by the Minister to revive school sport. Where did SAFA see itself playing a role and contributing to the school sport programme?
Ms G Tseke (ANC) stated that on the artificial turf issue, the last time the Committee heard, there were eight fields and today there were 30. The Committee needed to see a list of where they were, and how far had SAFA had gone in popularising these facilities?
Ms T Litshiva (ANC) asked if the grassroots programmes for girls football were working?
Ms M Dube (ANC) reiterated the concern of the lateness of the presentation documents. She asked if South Africa had not lost this match, when was SAFA going to find out about the rules She further raised the concern that there was lots of publicity for the men’s team, but not for the women’s team. What did SAFA mean when it referred to ‘getting back on track’ in the presentation. Was SAFA not already on track?
Mr MacKenzie stated that rules were rules and SAFA was not organised as these were not new rules. Why was the NSL constitution not in line with the PSL constitution? He added that the story about why the apologies were not made immediately was unacceptable. The Committee was under the impression that SAFA did not want to take responsibility.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) stated that the value chain portion of the presentation was promising. In addition, he asked why it that women were coached by men. Why were CAF and FIFA “two worlds apart?”
Mr J Van De Linde (DA) stated that the problem in football was “too much money and too little production”. SAFA was the richest sporting body in
Mr L Suka (ANC) stated that it was important to hold the sport indaba to communicate the ideals of patriotism and the national interest so that clubs and interested parties could understand. Did SAFA have an audit of its players at the developmental stages? On the issue of player release for the under-23 team the Minister of Sports and Recreation should intervene. He stated that this was not interference, but an intervention. He wished that SAFA could ‘walk their talk’ and there could be progress in terms of the changes highlighted in the presentation.
Mr Lee raised a concern about FIFA. What was SAFA’s view of FIFA?
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the issue of TV rights and the high commission of negotiation for sponsors. Had the PSL been on board with the plan that SAFA presented to the Committee? Could SAFA look into the issue of Banyana Banyana not being treated equally? The marketing of women’s football was a problem and the games should be televised. When would SAFA its ex-players involved? What was SAFA doing about the disciplining its players? Footballers needed to be role players on and off the field. The Chairperson suggested that the Committee secretary should write a letter to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to intervene concerning the release of players.
Mr Nonkonyana thanked the Committee for its contributions and reiterated the apology that SAFA could not circulate the document to the Committee members in advance.
In response to the suggestion of intervention by the Minister, Mr Nonkonyana stated that the Minister of Sport and Recreation was very hands on and talked to SAFA directly, not through the media.
On the issue of the apology, it was profound and sincere. Mr Nonkonyana read the apology statement to the Committee.
The Chairperson interjected and stated that re-reading the apology statement was not helpful because it re-opened the issues.
Mr Nonkonyana responded that although the SAFA President and Vice President served on the CAF board, it was unfair to blame them for
Mr Mandla Mazibuko Vice-President of SAFA agreed with the statement about intervention vs. interference and SAFA required the intervention and would require more frequent engagement with the Committee.
On the question of did SAFA deserve to lead, he responded yes it did, because SAFA acknowledged its mistakes. SAFA accepted member comments were a harsh reality of inexcusable incompetence.
On the issue of facilities, it was important for SAFA to popularise these 52 facilities, especially in rural areas, so that they did not become white elephants.
In response to question on the school sports launch, SAFA played an integral part of the school football component of the national school sports plan and SAFA was fully on board.
On the issue of the under-23 team player release, it boiled down to patriotism and national interest. There was not much that SAFA could do except for to have a dialogue about how football is run in
Mr Mazibuko stated that he was overall impressed with the contributions from the Committee.
Ms Lebenya-Ntanzi requested a written response to the question on the role of school sport.
The Chairperson thanked SAFA and the members for their contributions. On behalf of the Committee, he accepted SAFA’s apology and adjourned the meeting.
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