I got a bit excited last week and in the process, must
admit, also got a bit carried away.
The source of my excitement was news that the South
African Football Association (SAFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) was to
hold a meeting on Saturday.
I had anticipated this since the initial
"emergency meeting" was called - and then cancelled - with no reason
following FIFA's lodging of a Victim's Statement for Restitution with the US
authorities last month.
The document caused quite a stir due to its wording
that for the first time alluded that a $10 million "bribe" was paid
by South Africa in their bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
We are still none the wiser as to why that
"emergency meeting" ended up not taking place. In the absence of a voice from SAFA, Sports Minister
Fikile Mbalula was left to deal with the matter on behalf of government.
We have been told that the "Diaspora Development
Programme" - towards which South Africa contributed $10 million - was a
In between, Bafana Bafana, the senior men's national
soccer team, played two crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)
qualifiers against Cameroon.
The first leg played
in Limbe, ended in a 2-all draw with a cracker of a goal from Mamelodi
Sundowns' Hlompho Kekana.
Then the return match played at Durban's Moses Mabhida
Stadium was a goalless stalemate, leaving Bafana lying third in Group M with
three points from four outings.
They have so far lost 3-1 to Mauritania, held to a
goalless draw by Gambia at home plus the
recent two draws against The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Not only is the team sitting dangerously in a position
where qualifying for the next AFCON seems near impossible, but national coach
Shakes Mashaba has developed a fraught relationship with the media and the
Mashaba totally refuses to take responsibility when
the team does badly and seems to be way off the mark with reality.
Actually, the coach is currently so out of step with
everybody that he reminds me of that
anecdote of an old couple that stood on their verandah watching a platoon of
troops march down the street with their son in it, to which the mother
quips: "All those men are out of step
except our Fred."
It was with these happenings in the back of my mind
that I got excited on hearing that the SAFA bigwigs were to gather this past
I anticipated that they would deal with at least the
two issues, that of the $10 million plus the Bafana Bafana/coach.
To say I was disappointed when there was no press conference nor statement at the end of Saturday's meeting, would be an
An enquiry with the media department was met with
"it was just a routine quarterly meeting where Standing committees submit
their reports to the NEC."
And then it emerged
that CEO Dennis Mumble had informed some sections of the media that a
"task team" consisting of two former Bafana Bafana coaches and a pair
of former national team skippers had been appointed to assess the coach and
advise the association on the way forward.
The last time I checked, SAFA had Standing committees
one of which was tasked with dealing with technical matters.
Does this committee not monitor the coach every step
of the way and advise the organisation accordingly?
Why appoint a task team when it is obvious to everyone
what is happening?
This is a total abdication of responsibility.
SAFA has a clear-cut programme called Vision 2022. If
there are any indications that it is not being adhered to, they should
immediately take remedial action.
This is what we expect from an organisation tasked
with governing a sport as big as football in our country.
SAFA should act on these pressing matter immediately
as dilly-dallying will only just increase the damage.
Decisive leadership is imperative!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 well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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