Johannesburg - May I open by wishing everyone a happy and successful 2018.
Top of my wish list this year is to see consistent, decent football being dished out by our Premier Soccer League clubs.
While I would love to see some entertaining and goal-driven diski being displayed at every ground in the country, I concentrate on the elite league, as it is the window through which the world sees our football.
Talent scouts from all over the world judge South African players by the kind of football shown in the top league week in and week out.
Most will agree that what we saw in the first part of the Absa Premiership was largely disappointing.
Here is hoping that the festive break gave the coaches and players time to refresh and that they will return with their batteries recharged.
We should have some sort of picture of things to come by the end of Sunday, given that we would have witnessed a full batch of fixtures since Friday.
That said, I expect the SA Football Association (Safa) leadership elections, scheduled for March 24, to be the biggest football story of the first quarter of this year.
Already, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana Ah! Zanemvula, Chief of AmaBhala of Enkululekweni Royal Place, near Flagstaff, fired the first salvo.
Not only has he, of the royal blood and a qualified advocate, raised his hand, he has issued a manifesto of how he, if elected, will rid the organisation of corruption and white-collar crime.
One expects others to declare their candidature for the hot seat in the not so distant future, and may the best man win.
However, one would appeal for abstinence from the bitter and ugly bickering we have witnessed in previous Safa elections.
Innuendo and casting of aspersions becomes the order of the day during this period.
All one can ask and hope for is a clean war and people spelling out what they stand for.
Rather than attacking each other, it would be a breath of fresh air to hear people debate principles, policies and methods to improve our football.
Our game is littered with people who have mastered the art of operating in the shadows and launching scathing attacks under the guise of anonymous sources.
If you stand for the truth and have no fear of being disputed, come out into the open and have their say. I would love to see open and robust debates, similar to live public duels by US presidential contenders.
Football is not just a sport, but a religion.
Treat with respect
Almost every black male in this county has a story to tell about how their career was either nurtured or prematurely curtailed by an injury on some dusty ground in a township or rural area.
I have my own classic tale about my conquests on a ground that had such a big mound on the halfway line that the two goalkeepers could not see each other.
So it is that almost every black South African male has an opinion about what happens on the football field and about the politics of the sport.
Those vying for the position of president and vacancies on Safa’s national executive committee must treat the many nationals who swear by the game with respect.
My other advice would be for the contenders, those who will vote and those reporting on these matters to familiarise themselves with the Safa constitution, statutes and the electoral code.
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