SAFA refusing to budge

2011-04-12 17:40

Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (SAFA) stood firm on Tuesday in its refusal to declare whether or not the national soccer team's name would change.

The company that owns the rights to the use of the Bafana Bafana trademark on apparel, headwear and footwear said earlier in the week that SAFA's lawyers had informed them the official nickname would change.

SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani, however, said the federation had never held talks with Wayne Smidt, the owner of Stanton Woodrush (Pty) Ltd, because he refused to answer his phone or return messages.

"When we got his (Smidt's) contact number, we gave him a call but his phone was off, and he has never replied back to the numerous messages that we left for him," Nematendani said.

Nematendani was not prepared to confirm whether SAFA would consider obtaining the rights from Smidt, or whether they had opted to find a new name altogether.

He said the federation would issue its own statement later on Tuesday, but SAFA media officer Matlhomola Morake, who would be tasked with issuing the statement, said he knew nothing of it.

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula was in full support of disbanding the Bafana name for a more "intimidating" commercial nickname. The current name, Bafana Bafana, means "the boys" in Zulu.

"Name change is a debate worth looking at. We are well respected in the African continent," Mbalula said last month.

"We are climbing the Fifa rankings and I wonder if we still need that name [Bafana Bafana]."

This idea was also backed by influential SAFA vice-president and 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee chief executive, Danny Jordaan, who along with SAFA executive member Alpha Mchunu and Nematendani have reportedly been tasked with finding a new name.

"Zimbabwe was changed from Rhodesia and even my home city Port Elizabeth is now known as Nelson Mandela Bay," Jordaan said recently.

"For as long as the name Bafana Bafana has existed, there have been those who were opposed to it.

"It has been viewed as demeaning in some instances because it means 'boys' and these are grown men we are talking about."


  • Mabhulwana - 2011-04-12 18:14

    So the President of SAFA is telling us that for all these years since they discovered that this fellow owns the rights to the name, they have never made contact with him. Go and tell that to your children.

  • Tony - 2011-04-12 18:17

    I fully support SAFA in this. I do not believe it is worth paying R31m for the name. I also do not believe that it will be difficult to establish a new name. The sponsor will ensure that happens through normal sponsor branding exercises. R31m can be spent better on developing young soccer players. A nation wide competition for a new name will already establish the name.

      Rick - 2011-04-12 19:40

      No the 31million will go to the Administrators for Mercs Bm's etc The youth of the townships wont see a penny whatever the final decision

  • Emen - 2011-04-12 18:19

    If you delve a little deeper into this story, it becomes clear that they just dont want to share royalties for the apparel sold. They own half of the royalties already! They don't want their fingers in the pie, they want the entire pie for themselves.

      hardloop - 2011-04-13 18:33

      And why not? They train the team, pay for the facilities, pay the player wages...why should they share the royalties with a private company? They have every right to protect their commercial interests. Also. Bafana Bafana is a weak name.

  • will294 - 2011-04-12 18:40

    Why don't they just change the name to " Buffoona Buffoona" ?

      Ntsikei - 2011-04-12 21:04

      i think the must change Proteas to Chokaks Chokaks

      Mike - 2011-04-13 11:08

      I agree even SAFA should change their name to the south african fools association !!! idiots!!

      Mike - 2011-04-13 11:08

      I agree even SAFA should change their name to the south african fools association !!! idiots!!

  • TheDon - 2011-04-13 08:42

    Well, we changed the cricket team's name from the Springboks to the Proteas, so we can comfortably change Bafana Bafana to something else as well. It is not worth paying money for, supporters can still call the team Bafana Bafana, but why waste money paying for the "right" to use it formally. Not worth it.

  • thandi - 2011-04-13 09:38

    A money making scheme...there is so much growth and development needed in South Africa's sport..

  • Mike - 2011-04-13 11:09

    what BS what a laim excuse !! now all of a sudden they have his number and he hasnt answered his calls! come on safa catch a frickin wake up can you be professional for once if you frikkin existance SAFA just irritates me their incompetence never ends to surprise me

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