Ministry: SAFA is being watched
Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (SAFA) needs to be reminded that it is owned by the public and not by its leaders, sports ministry spokesperson Paena Galane said on Wednesday.
"We needed to re-clarify to SAFA that [the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee] SASCOC will play a watchful role over them, just as they do with other sports federations."
Galane was speaking a day after Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula spent six hours behind closed doors with SAFA and members of SASCOC.
"SASCOC will oversee each and every one of them [the sports federations] because there is no way that the minister will run around after the different federations," said Galane.
Reminding SAFA of its place was one of the issues raised in the meeting, which followed a string of poor performances by Bafana Bafana in the past year.
The lowest point was the team's failure to qualify for the recently-concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, after misunderstanding the rules.
The junior sides did not fare any better. The men's Under-23's failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and the Under-20's performed dismally in the regional Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) championships in December.
While the local Premier Soccer League (PSL) prospered as a brand, long-standing issues of development and the need for technical symposiums were also discussed.
"The issue here is the quality of the team," said Galane.
"There have been a lot of general public complaints. I mean playing eight games without a win?
"SAFA said they will give it immediate attention and have started by holding a symposium, where they brought in other football minds."
The popularity of coach Pitso Mosimane was waning after Bafana's failure to win any of their last six internationals.
They also managed only draws in their two friendlies against Zambia and Ghana in January.
Mosimane did himself no favours with his poorly-timed rant against the media after the Ghana game, when he accused them of plotting his downfall.
In the aftermath of the AFCON debacle, where the team mistakenly understood that a draw would be enough to qualify, he insisted on challenging the rules which eliminated his side instead of publicly apologising for the error, and the disappointing team display.
Mbalula went on the record castigating Mosimane for his behaviour.
"It was some of the issues of protocol that we talked about," Galane said.
"He's still employed by SAFA, and there are ways of better communicating."
The ministry also touched on the frosty relations between SAFA and the PSL.
In many cases, this had led to clubs not releasing players for national team duty.
"We spoke about that, and they (SAFA) have started to engage with the PSL," said Galane.
"They have to ensure that the national team have the players available when they are needed."
SAFA vice-president Mwelo Nonkonyana acknowledged that Mbalula had asked for more interaction between themselves and SASCOC.
"The minister did ask for us and SASCOC to be more interactive on key issues and naturally, also Bafana," Nonkonyana said.
"There is a general perception about the SAFA administration.
"But we have assured the ministry that we are united and committed to deliver."