Johannesburg - The youth league is getting ready to take over the running of the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Judging by the newly re-elected PSL chair’s utterances, this may well be the last term for the golden oldies in the league executive.
It is clear that the league has already started thinking about the future. Already out of the picture are longest-serving members of the executive Mike Mokoena, who decided it was time to let go, and John Comitis, who lost during the recent elections.
Some of the youth league members waiting in the wings to take over after four years include Rantsi Mokoena, Jessica Motaung, Nkosana Khoza, Floyd Mbele and Khumbulani Konco.
In fact, there is a power shift already as the three elected members – Jose Ferreira, Konco and Rejoice Simelane – are bringing a different dimension to the league.
PSL boss Irvin Khoza said it was time they introduced young blood to share their experience and knowledge. This is a clear sign that a succession plan is already in place.
The first sign was the election of Konco to the executive committee, making him the youngest member in the history of the decision-making committee.
Khoza made it clear that they would have to remain relevant to the market if they were to survive the tough and challenging economic environment.
“It is a question of dealing with succession to say, ‘how do we deal with issues of passing over experience?’ because most of us are on our way out sooner than later,” he said.
At the end of his fifth term, Khoza will be 72. In fact, he will have been at the helm for 18 years after he was again re-elected unopposed.
“In our last elections, we took the young blood into our sub-committees so that they could be integrated into the workings of the PSL; so that by the time they come into the executive committee, they have an idea of how things work,” said Khoza.
Simelane, an economist by training, would add value to the business side of the sport, he said.
“If there is one thing that has been missing in our distribution of content, it is that we have never discussed the business side of football,” Khoza said.
“I think because of her uniqueness in terms of qualifications, I’m going to make it her responsibility to be a commentator on the economic effect of football,” he said.
“Jose is going to be handling issues, for instance, on the statutes because he was in the legal and constitutional committee as a sub-committee member. So now he is going to be the one faced with that kind of responsibility.
“Khumbulani is what we call, in our speak, the IT generation. He’s coming in with those skills and he is one of the youth league, as we call them in the PSL.”
The challenge will be how to remain relevant in the media space when it comes to consumption of content.
“If your content is not exciting and cannot be used in social media, you fall out of favour,” he said.
“What’s exciting to me is to remain relevant and be part of the talking point. If your colleagues show confidence in you, despite all that has been said, it says a lot more than money in the bank for me. It means Irvin Khoza cannot fail us and I cannot misplace their confidence.
“It also encourages me to stretch myself. I know it is not easy to remain relevant for 18 years, but there is so much excitement in our space, especially if you are passionate about the brand.”
He said he was driven by his passion for the game. “Even when days are dark or you feel down, you make sure you wake up and move forward because of this passion.”
He said he hoped the increase in prize money for continental competitions would motivate clubs to take participation seriously.
“I think our clubs will soon realise the effect of participating in continental football, and what it does for the brand.
“This is part of brand extension, and if you are offered the opportunity to do so, it is a good starting point. It also gives status to the league to say we are not only financially strong, but can also compete.”