S'Busiso Mseleku

NFD promotions highlight sham in SA football

2016-06-24 12:27
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Congratulations are in order for Limpopo football side Magesi FC and Kings United from KwaZulu-Natal.

The two clubs were on Sunday promoted to the National First Division (NFD), the second tier of South African football after a gruelling ABC Motsepe League final that ended in a 1-all tie, with Magesi emerging 5-3 winners after the dreaded lottery of football that is a penalty shootout.

Besides the honour of being promoted to the NFD, the two clubs received R1 million and R500 000 in prize money, respectively.

Now they will rub shoulders and fight for promotion with the likes of University of Pretoria, Black Leopards, Santos and Thanda Royal Zulu among others.

Quite an elite lot to compete against for clubs coming off an amateur league.

They will also now get about R450 000 in monthly grants as NFD contenders.

However, there are bad news!

Just as I wrote in this column last July, when Mbombela United got promoted, not much has changed.

So, while Magesi and Kings are excited, should one of them beat the lot and get promoted to the elite Absa Premiership at the end of the upcoming season, they will only pocket a first prize of R500 000 which is what Kings United got for coming second in the ABC Motsepe League while it’s R500 000 less than what Magesi received for being champions!

The only real reward for qualifying to play in the Absa Premiership is the R1.5 million monthly grants as well as participation in lucrative Cup tournaments such as the MTN8, Telkom Cup and the Nedbank Cup.

Success in these competitions is however not guaranteed as big guns are wont to dominate.

This is the door we have been banging for many years about the imbalances that exist between the second tier and the elite league.

It is indeed a chasm that calls for immediate correction as it makes a mockery of the NFD.

It is also this discrepancy that sees clubs in this division do everything in their power to win matches and get promoted.

There have been several reports of wide-spread corruption in this league.

It is indeed a dog-eat-dog division but the club owners - albeit in private - tend to justify their shenanigans by pointing at the gap that exists between them and the Absa Premiership.

It is time that the PSL really did something about the NFD. It is indeed a terrible reflection on a league that prides itself on being a first class organisation.

The starting point should be the cockeyed voting system contained in the National Soccer League (NSL – the mother body consisting of the PSL and NFD.) This provides for each Premier League club to enjoy four votes while NFD clubs only have one each.

With this provision in place, there is no way that NFD clubs can have a meaningful say in the way professional soccer is managed in this country. Even if they have powerful club owners such as Jomo Sono, David Thidiela and Goolam Alie, they can shout until their voices are hoarse, but nothing will change.

It is high time they fought this anomaly tooth and nail even if they have to take it to court. I doubt if there is any court that would agree with this rule in the NSL Constitution.

But, that’s just me and I have no voting rights in the NSL, PSL or NFD...

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    nfd  |  psl  |  soccer

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