S'Busiso Mseleku

SAFA's ineptitude can be costly to SA football

2016-08-22 19:07
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

South African football suffered yet another shiner last week when Djimbaraye Bourngar - who is the deputy chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee - recommended that former president Kirsten Nematandani be banned for a period of not less than six months and also be fined.

READ: I'm a scapegoat, says soccer's 'Mr Clean'

The findings were around those pre-2010 FIFA World Cup friendly matches played by Bafana Bafana which it has subsequently emerged, were fixed.

Nematandani - who sadly lost his father on Friday for which we send our condolences - was the head honcho at SAFA at the time.

The part relating to Nematandani in the FIFA statement read: “In his final report, the chief of investigation recommends the sanction of a ban for no less than six years and a fine of no less than CHF 10,000 for Mr Nematandani for an apparent violation of art. 13 pars 1-4 (General Rules of Conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty) and art. 18 (Duty of Disclosure, Cooperation and Reporting) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).”

A cautious organisation that they are, FIFA added this rider: “Until a formal decision is taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, the accused is presumed innocent.”

I found it disturbing that there could even be a hint that someone who was at the helm of an organisation charged with running all spheres of football in our country could be found wanting in matters such as ethics, loyalty, duty of disclosure, general rules as well as co-operation and reporting.

It will be sad indeed if Nematandani's guilt on these fundamental principles of leadership was finally confirmed as it will point to a serious lack of judgment from his side and thus put some doubt on the quality of leadership at the top of SAFA.

In response to FIFA’s statement, SAFA said in a statement: “The South African Football Association has noted a statement from the FIFA Ethics Committee regarding the sanctioning of former SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani. The Association will make a follow up on the matter regarding his proposed banning and will engage the world governing body, FIFA to get more details and clarity.”

Well, this was not a first finding around this issue as several former SAFA employees have been found guilty by the same body of an assortment of irregularities.

SAFA’s response to these have been a standard “SAFA welcomes the findings”. So what has changed now that they have to go back to FIFA for “more details and clarity”?

Were they not aware that the investigation was still going on? Did they not keep abreast with the proceedings?

If that is the case, it is an indication of a serious case of ineptitude that needs to be attended to.

SAFA needs to be vigilant and be forever awake to anything that can have an impact on their image.

While one knows that reputation management is a foreign concept to the South African football governing body, it is high time they woke up and smelt the coffee.

This match-fixing saga has been with us for years now and instead of waiting for FIFA to issue their findings in a piecemeal basis, SAFA should have just dealt with the matter promptly as soon as it reared its ugly head.

On another note, the SA Under-17 national team suffered a 2-0 loss away to Tanzania, going down 3-1 on aggregate and thus being bundled out of the African Youth Championships qualifiers.

One just hopes this is just a small blip and not an indication that Vision 2022 has been derailed. Remember that there is already a small blot, Bafana Bafana failing to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon.

Just pointing out.

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:    safa  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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