In a virtual meeting, Members of the Committee voiced concerns about the manner in which football was being handled in the country. The South AFrfican Football Association (SAFA) briefed them on their Vision 2022 strategy for developing football, particularly women’s football and youth football.
One of the main themes of the meeting was that of funding. Dr Danny Jordan, SAFA President and Dr Dr Irvin Khoza, Chairperson, Premier Soccer League (PSL), told the Committee that in terms of legislation, South African football must be broadcast on the national broadcaster, while in many other countries the broadcast revenue did not come from the national broadcaster. In Britain, for example, broadcasting moved from the BBC to other paying broadcasters and soccer’s broadcasting revenue skyrocketed. The SABC used to pay SAFA R110 million for broadcasting rights. When they ran into financial troubles, they unilaterally decided that they could pay SAFA only R10 million, which was later raised to R25 million. On women’s football alone, spending was between R53 million and R73 million. They told the Committee that the question of broadcast revenue in South Africa had to be addressed. The contribution of the government stood at three percent of SAFA’s revenue. In Ghana, the sport was given $10 million just for the World Cup qualifiers, while Senegal provided $20 million.
Of concern to Members of the Committee was the state of talent development in the country. They commented that not enough was being done to reach students in rural areas. Rural football was no longer functioning like it used to when villages would have teams that would compete against one another. They were told there were plans to enable boys and girls to play sport at the nearest school every Wednesday.
Members were puzzled by the poor performance of the national team, Bafana Bafana, while other teams were doing well internationally. They questioned why a foreigner had been appointed as the national coach. They were told that the qualified local coaches were bound by other contracts and would not be able to coach Bafana Bafana at the desired time. The new coach was hired because he had done a similar job with Cameroon and went on to help them win the AFCON tournament.
SAFA Vision 2022
Presentations were made by Mr Vusumzi Mkhize, Director-General, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC); Adv Tebogo Monthlante, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South African Football Association (SAFA);Ms Anastacia Tsichlas, SAFA National Executive Committee (NEC); and Mr Steve Pila, CEO, South African Schools Football Association (SASFA).
Members were told that the strategic master plan of SAFA, Vision 2022, focussed on eight pillars to rebuild the association to be a competitive, sustainable, viable and successful federation at local, regional, provincial, national, and international levels.
The Committee heard that SAFA had 52 regions throughout the country. SAFA governance ensures that the association’s statutes were aligned with those of the international association, FIFA. The National Executive Committee led by its president had a four-year term and was elected by members at the ordinary congress. The NEC accounted to the members at the ordinary congress via various governance committees and an independent Ethics Committee with two High Court judges as members and an independent Integrity Officer. SAFA statutes prescribed that at all levels one of the vice-presidents must be a woman and that there must be a minimum of four women on the NEC.
The Committee was told that SAFA’s investment in women’s football was unparalleled. The presentation listed the amounts invested over the past five years and detailed the achievements of women’s teams and their international rankings. The presentation also provided details of the performance of men’s teams. (See attached slide presentation).
Members were told of a national technical centre that aimed to position development of South African football in a much better place so that it fully caught all the talent the country had to offer.
They heard that there were 52 regional leagues for women in all of the provinces. These resulted in Sasol Provincial Play-offs from which two winners were promoted into the SAFA National Women’s League, the most elite league for women and the only one of its nature on the continent. There were national inter-provincial leagues for the under-17 and under-19 teams which played throughout the year. These provided talent identification for the women’s under-17 and under-20 national teams.
Regarding men’s teams, there were regional leagues in which matches were played around the country on a weekly basis. Winners in these regional leagues went into play-offs to produce provincial winners who would play in the promotional play-offs. The winners of those play-offs were promoted into the ABC Motsepe league. The nine provincial winners of the ABC Motsepe play-offs met in the national play-offs and winners from this tournament were promoted into the National First Division (NFD) annually. There were vibrant leagues for under-17 and under-19 boys which served as talent identification for the junior national teams.
The Committee heard that SAFA was extensively involved in:
- Coaching education which had produced coaches for all the national teams, most PSL coaches, the NFD and other clubs.
- Referees training: SAFA’s match officials were rated the best on the African continent, and this was well documented by the high number of match officials appointed to officiate in global tournaments.
- Football administration training: SAFA trained football administrators across the country and both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) had used the SAFA’s expertise to train football administrators.
SAFA outlined an eight-year coaching blueprint which started in 2014. It aimed to train 100 000 coaches by 2022, with 35 000 already trained, The focus was on women coaches. In 2013 the players to coaches ratio was 200 per coach; the ideal ratio would be 20 players per coach. Women’s teams were coached by men. There was a need to appoint women for all women’s teams.
Another target was to register one million women football players by 2022 .There were currently 456 000 active players. This programme was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. A goal to launch a national women’s league by August 2019 was achieved. Another target that was achieved was an increase in the number of women in decision making positions. In 2013 the number was 20; in 2018 the number had increased to 150.
The Committee heard that the current Kay Motsepe Cup had been running for 17 years in the same format. There was a need to realign the format with a view of enticing more schools to participate and to create exciting opportunities for more learners to participate. This would help unearth new talent. Under the revised league, all schools in the country were eligible to participate in the new National League. The 2019 national finalists would participate in the inaugural 2021 league. The first nine schools would be selected according to their performance in the national finals held in Bloemfontein. The second nine schools would qualify based on criteria for promoting social cohesion and integration. In the interest of nation building, the national league should represent the demographic of the country. The league matches would be played on a home and away basis. It would be run on a round-robin basis. At the end of the season the two bottom teams would be relegated to the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Cup, while the two national finalists of the Kay Motsepe Cup would be promoted to play in the National League. The winners of the Super League would play against continental and international opponents.
Mr M Seabi (ANC) thanked SAFA for their contribution to South African football. He noted that the chair of CAF was now a South African, Dr Patrice Motsepe. He had seen how the president of SAFA played an important role in creating a united front from the NSL and PSL. He said the reason why SAFA had been invited into the meeting again was because it was unacceptable that Bafana Bafana had not even qualified for the CAF tournament. SAFA had not been clear about fixing this issue. The country was doing well in its younger divisions, the under-17s Banyana Banyana. However, when it came to Bafana Bafana this all just faded away, even though these players were playing in the same teams and against one another.
Mr Seabi said while he was glad that a legal matter in eThekwini had been resolved, he wanted clarity on a dispute that ended up in court in Limpopo. He said he appreciated the implementation happening in school sports. There was no longer a focus on village sports. Every village used to have a club and people would go to the various stadiums to scout. This was no longer happening. He also said he read in the media that world cup qualifiers had been postponed by CAF. What would the implications of this be? He also said he would like for the PSL to also comment on the proposed academy system. Lastly, he asked about viewership. It was higher for football than it was for other sporting codes, but people who had money did not watch football, they watched cricket and rugby. What was SAFA’s plan to combat this?
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) first congratulated the CEO, saying he was now a fully-fledged CEO. He expressed disappointment about Bafana Bafana and pride in Banyana Banyana. He wanted to know directly from the CEO and the President of SAFA if they agreed with Doctor Khumalo that the national team was in ICU. If they did agree, what mechanisms did they have to make sure that they changed the ICU status of the squad? The world cup was six months away and a new coach had been announced. What was expected of him? What exactly were the issues with the national team? Was it bad coaching? Was it the players? Did the PSL have local coaches? Was there even development of local coaches? What was the rationale behind the appointment of a foreign coach? Having not qualified for CAF, what lessons had been learned from the experience?
Regarding a national soccer indaba, there were six months to go for the implementation of Vision 2022. What was the actual turnaround time for there to be an indaba? There did not seem to be unison between SAFA and the PSL.
Mr Mhlongo asked how many contractors there were for the month-to-month operations. He wanted clarity on the strategy to increase the Banyana Banyana viewership. What were the numbers and what was the actual strategy.
He congratulated SAFA on its financial surplus of R54 million. He asked for clarity about percentages of five percent and four percent which SAFA reported it had received from the PSL and the government. He asked what the actual figures were. Regarding the academy he said he welcomed the presentation on it, and he would like the Committee to conduct an oversight visit. It had been stated an amount of R4 million was being used for tan academy. He wanted to know how it started and how much had been used to date.
He asked about litigation costs and whether SAFA employed dispute resolution mechanisms before heading to court. There was a challenge with a federation for school sports. What was at issue here?
How many schools were involved in the Super League nationally? Lastly, he wanted the views of both the chairperson of Orlando Pirates, who was also the deputy president of SAFA, and the chairperson of Kaizer Chiefs on a report commissioned by the Minister of Sport which said there should be independent directors at sport bodies.
Mr Dannny Jordaan, SAFA president, said a dominant theme from the questions seemed to be around Bafana Bafana. Those were questions that the technical committee could address. It was correct that CAF had postponed the June window of the FIFA world cup qualifiers. There were two reasons - one was that about 40 percent of stadiums on the continent were ruled out as being incompetent for hosting FIFA matches. Namibia, for example, had already engaged South Africa to play their qualifiers in Cape Town, and so had many neighbouring countries. It was said that it is not desirable for countries to not play their hosting games in their own stadiums and so FIFA and CAF had given such countries about three months to upgrade their facilities so that they met the international standards set by FIFA. The second reason related to Covid-19. What had happened on the continent was that the Covid testing would be done by the host nation. In some countries, players were told that they had tested positive and could not play. It so happened that those were the star players in the team. It was said that the matter of testing could not be left to the host nation. Such matters needed to be figured out before qualifiers could resume.
A member of the SAFA (who could not be identified on the virtual platform) said he understood that South Africa was a success-hungry nation. However, people needed to manage those expectations. South Africa has been in international sport for less than 30 years. In that period a lot had been achieved, but there was an understanding that Bafana Bafana was the flagship of the nation and so everyone expected success there. One of the key reasons for not qualifying for CAF this year was partly due to Covid-19 as some players were stuck in Europe and could not play for the country due to travel restrictions.
With that in mind there had been a lengthy discussion about a turnaround strategy. This was broken down into medium and long term plans about how the teams could be salvaged to be able to qualify for the World Cup in 2022 and the next CAF championships. Looking at the talent pipeline from the under-20s and the under-17s there was very encouraging talent coming up. These players had come from the SAFA system. Many were playing in the PSL, some of them were in the NFD and quite a few were playing abroad.
The key thing with a coach was what the short term and long term objectives were and who would best achieve those. A key factor was finding someone who was capable of balancing new talent with experience. There had been over 200 applications. Those were narrowed down to five: three were local coaches and two were foreign. Unfortunately, the local coaches that were targeted had contractual obligations with the clubs that they were already coaching. So the next question became, who had demonstrated the ability to integrate new talent with experience while concurrently doing well with their teams. Hugo Broos was seen as the best candidate to do this as he had achieved a similar fit with Cameroon previously. He said it must be emphasised that the priority was to get a local head coach. One of the key conditions was to have a team of local coaches that would be working with him so that they could one day take over from him.
Putting things in context, South African football was not in ICU. At PSL level there were three local teams representing the country in the quarter final stages of the CAF championships – Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in CAF and Orlando Pirates in the Confederation Cup. South African football was in a healthy state. South African international football was only 30 years old. There were countries that had been playing for 60 years who have never been to the world cup or even won the AFCON. Yes, there were shortcomings and those were being addressed, SAFA was currently reviewing Vision 2022. It had noted the successes and the shortcomings and had seen how all of that could be changed for the next 12 years. Funds from SAFA and FIFA had been very helpful in conducting research that could be useful for the turnaround strategy. Just fewer than 100 male players were playing Europe and over 30 women were also playing professional football all over the world. Considering this, South Africa should be a giant in the continent. The country would get back to that. Football was cyclical and that was why there should be long-term planning by the association. With the current leadership structure, it is believed that this was possible.
On the issue of litigation, Mr Mkhize said a court had ruled that the term of the previous CEO had expired and that Adv. Monthlante was elected properly. There is no case pending in any of the ordinary courts. In terms of dispute resolution their constitution allowed for dispute resolution that was headed by independent legal With regards to the reopening of stadiums to the public, the association was in support of a safe return of spectators in stadiums.
Mr Gronie Hluyo, Chief Financial Officer, SAFA, replied to the question about percentages of funding received. In actual figures R10 million was received annually from the PSL and R7 million came from the government. Regarding month-to-month contracts, the association had just finalised a section 189 restructuring process. There would not be month to month contracts going forward. Workers would become permanent. However, there might be instances where there was a need for part-time workers, such as when there were team camps.
On comments about low sponsorship despite having high viewership and the suggestion that people who watched football were poorer, he said he would beg to differ. Now with transformation, there were black people in positions of power. They were leaders in corporations and other industries. What was needed was to get those people to start supporting football. Historically, the people who had been making sponsorship decisions had been white but that was not the case anymore. The Black Business Council had been approached three years ago to have get their support because most of the industry giants were represented there.
On how the viewership of Banyana Banyana could be increased, he said on average there were between 1.3 and 1.5 million viewers for their matches. Increasing viewership could be by broadening the base of football players. This meant that women’s football needed to be played throughout the country in schools and everywhere. Awareness could be increased through social media and other platforms like traditional media.
On the question of R4 million being allocated to an academy, he said this referred to a high-performance centre where women were based. An amount of R4.5 million was paid annually to the University of Pretoria. Money was invested at the national technical centre for three football fields, a boundary wall and upgraded accommodation, because when the property was bought it was not in a good state.
Mr Pila said it could not be that rural football no longer functioned like it used to. He was hopeful that it would happen again, where boys and girls were able to play sport at the nearest school every Wednesday in order to create talent from early on.
Dr Irvin Khoza, Chairperson, PSL, said he wanted to first highlight the coordination between SAFA and the PSL with regards to Bafana Bafana: Before fixtures were set correspondence was sent to SAFA so that they could be aligned with the obligations that Bafana Bafana had. Any other issue with match dates is fixed flexibly between the two organisations. As far as the selection of the coach is concerned, the PSL was not involved. Nor was it involved in the technical team. Its role was to provide players as per the requirements. As far as the academy was concerned, every team must have an academy. Academies were handled and approved by SAFA.
The PSL supported the opening of stadiums. However, they were not in a position to make that kind of call. What was also important was that the PSL was guided by what the government was saying. All the supporters in stadiums would have to be vaccinated. It would be risky to fill a stadium like the FNB stadium that had a capacity of 90 000 people.
In addition to the R10 million that was sent to SAFA, there was spending of about R30 million on referees for travelling, training, and stipends. With regards to independent directors, every management structure in the PSL was independent. SAFA and the PSL did talk. There recently was a meeting with the CEO on referees and the administration of some of the processes that the organisation wants to introduce.
The Committee must understand that it could not be that SAFA depended on sponsorship as an income stream to mitigate against the responsibility of running their mandate. Internationally, it was the other way around - broadcasting and then sponsorship - but because of the regulations on broadcasting SAFA is restricted from making money from broadcasting. This was also very important for programming, how the games were sold and how they were advertised. Other teams were assisted by their respective governments. If SAFA did not receive assistance from government there was no other way of making money. SAFA was not blessed like cricket or rugby where they could get money from their international regulating authorities. No one had sat down and asked SAFA or the PSL about the expenses of running a game, the expenses of running the national teams, in order to understand the money required to mitigate those expenses. There was only talk about results but not on the issues that underpinned them.
Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) asked about the decision to hire a foreign coach when there was local talent. He made an example of Desiree Ellis who was a retired Banyana Banyana player now coaching the squad. He asked why they could not have done the same thing by hiring Benny McCarthy. Was he one of the five choices that were considered by SAFA? With regard to the Olympic team, they would be going up against teams like Japan and France. Did South Africa have a squad that would be able to face those kinds of teams? He asked why the relegation of teams in the PSL could not be done away with.
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked if SAFA questioned whether Bafana Bafana were patriotic enough to fight for the image of the sport and what measures SAFA had devised to improve the situation. With regards to sponsorship, he asked if the sponsors of men and women were respecting both genders equally, because there were reports of women being disrespected by sponsors. What steps had SAFA taken to ensure that women did not get the short end of the stick? Was the phenomenon of women football players receiving their payments late still happening? If it was still happening, how did SAFA think the growth of women in sports would occur? Was there a technical director for women’s football? Finally, he asked why only four percent of SAFA’s revenue came from the government when the government was the one responsible for the development of sports in the country. How much was SAFA willing to pay the new coach?
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) said although much had been said on Bafana Bafana, it was worth noting that the team had dropped by 51 places since 2012 and in that she agreed with Mr Mamabolo. It had been said that schools would be under the leadership of SAFA. What had happened since 2015? It had been mentioned that SAFA still did not have the structures necessary to make sure that this happened. Could SAFA report on the progress of this resolution? The 2018/19 EPG transformation report showed that there was no data from SAFA with regards to school sports participation. This was of great concern because it meant that SAFA had not taken its role of development seriously. How many schools played the sport? SAFA used to have SASFA where there would be eight or nine tournaments every year. Since its demise, what had replaced this?
Mr M Zondi (ANC) said he wants SAFA to know that if Bafana Bafana continued to fail it would embarrass millions of people. Having said that, his concerns were covered by the plan. He found it hard to reconcile how the national team was doing so badly when its younger divisions were doing so much better. He asked the SAFA president if he could say, looking at his leadership team, that South African football was in good hands.
Adv. Monthlante said confidentiality clauses in the negotiation processes meant there could not be any revelation of coaches who were approached or the nature of the discussion with them for that matter.
Mr Bhuda Mathathe, Deputy Chairperson, SAFA Technical Committee, said he wanted to emphasise that hiring a local coach was a priority for SAFA but, as the CEO had mentioned, the confidentiality clauses prohibited mentioning of those discussions. One of the other issues that made the negotiation quite difficult sometimes was that the teams and management that these coaches were part of tended to make unreasonable demands, and not just financial ones. That was why it had taken so long to settle on a coach.
Upon hearing that the first qualifier would be in June against Zimbabwe, the situation became urgent and the coach needed to come and hit the ground running. With regards to the Olympics, the nation had a very talented all-local team headed by former player David Notoane and assisted by Zipho Dlangalala, and a goalkeeper coach from Sundowns, Wendel Robinson. A 40-player squad was recently announced. Of the 40 seven were over age. According to FIFA only three of those seven could play. At youth level South Africa had been playing world class football and so it was not going to the Olympics just to participate but to compete.
Mr Mathate said he found the question of patriotism quite interesting and made an example of Percy Tau when the team recently played in a qualifier. He played against a doctor’s orders because he wanted to play for his team even though that would be putting his career on the line. If one was to look at the leadership of SAFA right now, some of the people there were the ones that brought the World Cup to South Africa, a first for the continent.
With regards to the amount of money that was needed to run a national team, Ghana was recently given $10 million just to prepare for the qualifiers. He had been privileged to work with the Zambian national team as a technical advisor. Government support was there through logistics, funding, and everything else. There had to be a discussion on how the government could support the national teams in their quest to better their quality of play. The diversity that South Africa had was a benefit. The same applied for Brazil and Germany not to even mention France. A lot was not being reported by the media. When you looked at the pedigree of the talent that is behind South African football, it was incredible. When one looked at the parallels between the work being done by the PSL and SAFA in developing national football, a lot was being done. Unfortunately, because Bafana Bafana is the flagship for football, their performance was deemed to reflect football in the country in general.
Mr Pila said about 25 000 schools played football. About 15 000 of those have teams for both boys and girls. With regards to the replacement of SASFA, SAFA formed the SAFA Schools Football Committee, comprising experienced people from the various provinces, all of whom were educators. SAFA was well armed in ensuring that schools were well coordinated in all the provinces. It had taken so long because that decision was taken to court and court cases took quite a while to conclude. Unfortunately, as the case was raging some of the teachers took sides on the matter, further delaying and adversely affecting the matter.
Mr Mkhize dealt with a matter relating to the Pickard Commission. He said the commission dealt with two issues: one was that there must not be an executive president and two that football must not be privatised. Both matters had been resolved. Decisions were not just taken by Dr Jordaan but made by administrators. SAFA’S constitution ensured that private companies were not able to run football. It could only be run by the association through its statutes.
Dr Jordaan said as far as independent directors in football were concerned, there was no such thing. There were 211 FIFA members and there was no such thing in all of them. All national statutes by the associations must be approved by FIFA. As far as oversight was concerned, SAFA had established independent structures, as per FIFA, like the Ethics Committee and the Independent Integrity Officer who had the power to investigate any matter that was lodged with them. The SAFA Ethics Committee had two judges serving in it, chaired by Judge President Khampephe who served at the Constitutional Court and Judge Pillay who served at the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Integrity Officer created an ethics code that all referees must sign. That was how football was governed in the nation and that was how it was governed internationally. Also, all members of the national executive must be democratically elected. Women were paid on time and there were no outstanding payments to them.
On broadcasting, Dr Jordaan said that in terms of legislation, South African football must be broadcast by the national broadcaster. In many other countries the broadcast revenue did not come from the national broadcaster. For example, in Britain broadcasting moved from the BBC to Sky and other paying broadcasters and soccer revenue skyrocketed. That was the issue. The SABC used to pay SAFA R110 million for all their rights. When they had their financial troubles, they unilaterally decided that they could pay SAFA only R10 million. Of course, the government was approached because it was very difficult to operate under a budget cut of R100 million. After further negotiation that amount came to R25 million. On women’s football alone there was a spend of between R53 and R73 million. The question of broadcast revenue in South Africa had to be addressed. The contribution of the government as it stood was three percent and if another deal was signed it may go down to two percent. In Ghana, soccer was given $10 million just for world cup qualifiers and Senegal was given $20 million just for qualifiers as well. South Africa had gotten zero from the government. These were the realities of football.
Dr Khoza commented on the relegation playoffs. He said when the league was being configured in 1996 there were a lot of sacrifices. Not every club was marketable; there was a need to devise some exciting competition that other clubs could play in. He said he was happy that TGL and Chippa United were in the final for the Nedbank Cup. The league spent R40 million in subsidising the NFD. If one looked at the matter purely from the perspective of business, you could not invest in or support your competition, but because of the understanding that there was a need for quality in the NFD, the PSL took a conscious decision to support it in that sense.
Mr Mhlongo congratulated Mr Hluyo on his position. He asked Mr Pila if SAFA was doing enough to promote the women’s league. If there were to be a survey of ordinary South Africans, would they know that there was women’s football? How far was SAFA in securing corporate sponsors for the league? Lastly on the Indaba on Vision 2022, when was it happening? You could not promote a vision when people did not know what it is.
Mr Mkhize said there was going to be a meeting the following week on corporate sponsorship.
Ms Ria Ledwaba, Vice President, SAFA, made concluding remarks for the association. She wanted to drive home the matter of funding for South African football. The government had provided R7 million for the women’s league when the cost for that this year had been above R40 million. There had been an agreement that a further R8 million would be added. However, this still amounted to only R15 million. Despite this it had been through the work of the administration that South Africans were able to watch Banyana Banyana play on national television. She pleaded with the Director General for there to be a revision of the R7 million because the amount coming from the government was nowhere near enough. Lastly, she thanked the Committee for the opportunity to come before them with the PSL to voice where things were going right and where they were not going too well.
Ms Nocawe Mafu, Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, referred to the communication between SAFA and the as great leadership. She commended the presentation particularly its emphasis on gender equality. Gender equality was seen as both a success and as a challenge because of the realisation that there was so much more that could and needed to be done. With regards to school sports, the association could do as much as it possibly could with what it knew, but some of the challenges depended on the education and sports departments coming together and devising a clear plan on how school sports were going to be champion. One other thing that she wanted to underscore was the group of coaches that would be working with the head coach to ensure that in the long term there was a group of coaches in South Africa that were qualified for the job.
She said it was well known that SAFA could not answer the question on when stadiums would be opening. With concerns of a third wave of Covid-19 looming, it was important to wait on the government to see what measures would work best for the country.
The Chairperson thanked all the members of both SAFA and the PSL for availing themselves for the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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