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SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 May 2002
SOCCER WORLD CUP PREPARATIONS: BRIEFING BY SAFA
Documents handed out:
South African Football Association - Preparation of South Africa for the Soccer World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan (see appendix )
The South African Football Association delivered a briefing on South Africa's preparation for the Soccer World Cup 2002 in Korea/Japan. The final team will be announced on 12 May and on 17 May the team will depart for Hong Kong where it will participate in a four-nation tournament, starting with Scotland on 20 May. SAFA levelled complaints at the media for inaccurate reports in the build-up to the World Cup.
Facilitating the briefing was SAFA's CEO Mr Mokoena assisted by Mr Irvin Khoza, Mr Oliphant and Mr Vernon Seymour. Also present was the Minister of Sport and Recreation.
SAFA's briefing started off with background information on South Africa's past performance. It touched on the fact that the South African soccer team was among the 32 countries participating in the 2002 Soccer World Cup finals in Korea/Japan. South Africa had been drawn to play against Paraguay, Slovenia and Spain in the first group matches of the World Cup finals. Mention was also made of the fact that South Africa, after an impressive performance in the 1996 Cup of Nations, had failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals in 2002. This was followed by a public outcry for a closer scrutiny and possible reconstruction of the technical and support structure to Bafana Bafana.
Following the former head coach Mr Carlos Queiroz's recommendation to the SAFA National Executive Council (NEC), a World Cup Task Force was established together with the appointment of a National Technical Director. The World Cup Task Team comprised of Professor Mandla Mchunu, the convenor, Mr Danny Jordan, Ms Natasia Tsichlas, Mr Reuben Mahlalela and Mr Irvin Khoza.
The first meeting of the World Cup Task Team endorsed the following terms of reference:
- Providing authority and leadership.
- Ensuring national team culture.
- Code of conduct; and
- Programme facilitation and administration support.
The World Cup Task Team appointed Mr Ephraim Sono as the National Technical Director with the task of providing the following:
- Technical perspective;
- Tactical approach;
- Identification of relevant practice opposition;
- Selection of technical personnel;
- Determination of player selection criteria; and
- Joint selection of players with the Head Coach.
Mr Mokoena said that it was expected that there was going to be a good working relationship between the national team coach and the Technical Director. However, in the third meeting of the National Task Team a disagreement had arisen regarding the Head Coach. The latter felt that if the Technical Director was to be involved in the team selection and only be accountable to the NEC, that would compromise his principles and coaching ethics. The Task Team then asked Mr Oliphant to intervene. Mr Oliphant's intervention was however not accepted by Mr Queiroz. On 12 March 2002, Mr Queiroz asked to be relieved of his coaching post. This had led to Mr Sono being appointed as the head coach.
Preparations for the World Cup
As part of the preparations for the World Cup, Mr Mokoena said the new Head Coach had already identified his Technical Team whose names had been announced.
The Task Team in consultation with the Head coach had produced the following National Team Selection Criteria:
- Ability, talent and skill;
- Playing form and match performance;
- Injury free;
- Regular playing;
- Experience and maturity;
- Self motivation;
- Physical fitness; and
- Best player related to the World Cup strategy.
Mr Mokoena noted that there were regular Task Team and Head Coach meetings. He said that Mr Sono had requested the Special Projects Officer to be present at all national team matches. In order to instil pride, the Task Team had decided on the utilisation of the white, green and gold soccer kit.
There are also regular briefings to the Minister of Sports and Research by the SAFA President. The NEC had decided to involve the South African Air Force in a motivational talk on national pride during the local camp and farewell match. The Ministry of Sport has also been involved in aligning the farewell match with Africa Union Day and NEPAD.
Measures are also in place to award players selected for the World Cup with the national colours - green blazers with proteas. The NEC is also facilitating the involvement of the 26-person Technical Team required by the Head Coach in Korea/Japan.
There is also continual debriefing by the Task Team of the entire delegation regarding roles and responsibilities. The final team will be announced on 12 May at a farewell dinner party. On 17 May the team will depart for Hong Kong. There it will participate in a four-nation tournament, starting with Scotland on 20 May.
Mr R Pieterse (ANC) commented that there were many rumours of unhappiness concerning SAFA's dealing with the media and differences of opinions within SAFA. He wanted to know if there were plans in place to deal the media and the unhappiness.
Mr Khoza acknowledged the media unhappiness and said that this had been corrected. He said the coach had been told that the team belonged to the country. Media briefings had been proposed with regard to the upcoming World Cup finals. Ms Dudu Marawa had been roped in to give information to the media, apart from the media briefings.
Mr Pieterse's sentiment was endorsed by another committee member. He said that although differences would always be there, he asked that things be done in the interest of the country. He asked if SAFA was confident that the team was well prepared taking into account that some selected players had not yet arrived. Did South Africa have enough time to prepare?
Mr Balfour Ngconde, the Sport and Recreation Minister, added his voice by saying that the members had to look critically at the media approach in this country. The day before there had been a report in the media that the national team coach and certain players had not present at the training session. Mr Sono had been present but had not talked to the media. He said that the media approach to our teams needed to be looked at. Whatever the committee reads in the newspapers, it must not easily believe such reports.
Referring to the rumours of a fallout between Sono and Mr Gordon Igesund, Mr Khoza said Mr Igesund was a successful coach in this country and therefore deserved respect. Mr Sono had personally appointed him as a special advisor. He said that SAFA had a meeting this coming weekend to look into this issue.
With regard to preparations, Mr Khosa said there were constraints with the FIFA calendar. The availability of players depended on the willingness of the overseas teams to release players. Before the 16 May, SAFA cannot do anything, as it does not have such powers according to FIFA rules. However, beyond the 16 May they will have powers to act. He said that the coach had taken the South African rather than the European soccer calendar into account when determine the camp training sessions.
Mr E Schoeman (NNP) noted that it seemed that the line function between the head coach and the technical director was a problem. He complained that whenever the national team played a match, there was always a problem with the overseas players.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) complimented the presentation. He said apparent sharing of responsibilities encouraged him, as there would no pointing of fingers if the team did not perform well. He believed that it was unfortunate that the names would only be made available at the farewell function. He asked what would happen if any injury occurred then. He also said it was a fact that the performance of the team had not been good.
Mr Oliphant agreed that the national team performance was not good. However, he reminded the members that SAFA was only 10 years old. And within ten years it had already qualified twice for the Soccer World Cup and trice for the Africa Nations Cup.
Mr Z Ncinane (ANC) asked what SAFA was doing about the problem of players not honouring the national call-up. What SAFA was doing about the unpatriotic players? Also, to whom was Jomo Sono accountable - the Executive or the Task Team? What was the effect of having such a huge delegation in financial terms? Finally, how soon would the World Cup report be made available to the country?
With regard to the issue of the nonavailability of players and their "unpatriotism" Mr Khoza related to the committee how overseas were forcing South African players to choose between the country and club. If a player chose his country before his overseas club, the player faced the possibility of having his contract cancelled. He asked how one could force players to be patriotic in the face of that. He concluded by saying that the situation was very tricky for the players.
Replying to the question on the size of SAFA delegation to the World Cup, Mr Khoza dismissed the argument that the delegation was huge. He said, taking into account the delegations of other countries such as England and Brazil, South Africa's was reasonable.
Mr C Morkel (NNP) referred to the special projects personnel listed in the delegation and wanted to know what they were all about. He also said that there were a lot of companies running competitions for people to go the World Cup and asked if those companies were SAFA's sponsors. If not, he asked why SAFA was not approaching them.
Mr Khoza explained the special projects as involving "an African way of doing things - if you know how Africans do things, then you will know". He did not expand on what the African way was. Mr Balfour Ngconde added his voice saying that he liked the special projects. He explained that the Deputy President had complained about the Inyangas not being allowed to go to Mali.
Mr H Chauke (ANC) asked the Committee not to miss the objective of the meeting by showing a lack of confidence in the team. The objective was to be briefed about South Africa's preparedness for the World Cup and to establish the role of the committee with regard to that. He identified the role of the committee to be that of mobilising the country's population. He accused other members of politicising the whole issue of the World Cup. He asked what SAFA in the provinces was doing to mobilise people behind the national team.
Commenting on what SAFA saw to be the role of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Mr Oliphant said SAFA saw that role as helping them secure financial assistance. He noted that when South Africa was involved in the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali this year, it did not have a sponsorship.
Mr Vernon Seymour (a member of SAFA NEC) on the question of what the provinces were doing to mobilise people, said all SAFA provinces had been instructed to build support for the team around match dates. In the Western Cape, shebeens and the Waterfront were target points for that.
Mr E Ferreira (IFP) criticised the media as being irresponsible for creating an impression of South Africa as world-beaters and thus putting pressure on the national team.
The Committee Chairperson said South Africans should ask themselves - "Does South Africa enjoy the broad support that teams in other countries have and what we are doing about it?". She said South Africans only supported the team when it was winning and not losing. Referring to the media, she said it must create a forum for a display of support for the country and not the other way round.
In conclusion, she thanked SAFA for the presentation and she said the committee was very proud of the role SAFA had played. She said the committee had put up a sub-committee to effect co-operation between SAFA and the committee.
South African Football Association - Preparation of South Africa for the Soccer World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan
South Africa is among the 32 countries participating in the 2002 Soccer World Cup Finals in Korea/Japan;
South Africa is drawn to play against Paraguay, Slovenia and Spain in the first group matches;
South Africa's first match is against Paraguay on 02 June 2002;
Participation in the World Cup brings pride and responsibility to any country; and
The SAFA National Executive Committee, on 16 February 2002, endorsed the campaign for an effective participation in the World Cup.
Africa Cup of Nations 2002
South Africa, after an impressive performance in the 1996 Cup of Nations, failed to progress beyond the quarter finals in 2002;
There was a resultant public outcry for a closer scrutiny and possible reconstruction of the technical and support structure to Bafana Bafana; and
The former Head Coach Mr Carlos Queiroz recommended to the SAFA NEC, the establishment of a World Cup Task Force Plan as well as the appointment of a National Technical Director.
World Cup Task Team
Prof Mandla Mchunu - Convenor;
Danny Jordaan; Natasia Tsichlas;
Reuben Mahlalela; and
World Cup Task Team Terms of Reference
To provide authority and leadership;
Ensure National Team Culture;
Code of Conduct; and
Programme facilitation and administration support.
National Technical Director
Appointed Mr Ephraim Sono to provide the following:
Identification of relevant practice opposition;
Selection of technical personnel;
Determination of player selection criteria; and
Joint selection of players with the Head Coach.
The disagreement regarding the interpretation of the " Joint selection of players (final selection of players)";
The former Head Coach insisted on his interpretation that joint selection would compromise his principles and coaching ethics;
Task Team unsuccessful in the resolution of the disagreement;
The SAFA President, Mr Molefi Oliphant's intervention not accepted by the former Head Coach, Mr Queiroz;
Head Coach requested to be relieved of his post on 12 March 2002; and Mr Coach.
The new Head Coach identified his Technical Team on 13 May
Technical Team names publicly announced;
Task Team produced after consultation with the Head Coach, the
National Team Selection Criteria:
Ability, talent and skill;
Playing form and match performance;
Experience and maturity;
Physical fitness; and
Best player relate to world Cup Strategy
Regular Task Team and Head Coach meetings;
Production and agreement on the preparation schedule and opponents (show itinerary);
Task Team represented at all .preparation matches; Special Projects Officer at all matches;
Utilisation of the white, green and gold soccer kit; and
Regular briefings to the Minister of Sports and Recreation by the SAFA President.
Involvement of the South African Air Force during local camp for motivational talk on national pride and farewell match;
Involvement of Ministry of Sport in aligning the farewell match with the Africa Union Day and NEPAD;
Awarding of national colours (green blazers with proteas) to players selected for the World Cup;
Facilitation of the involvement of the 26 persons Technical Team required by the Head Coach in Korea/Japan; and
Debriefing by the Task Team of the entire delegation regarding roles and responsibilities.
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