Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (Safa) reported a R23.1 million profit at its congress on Saturday despite an economically volatile year and Bafana Bafana punching below their weight.
This was a huge turnaround from the R45m loss the association reported in the 2014/15 financial year.
Safa president Danny Jordaan and chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo were jovial when they informed members of the fourth estate about the “great strides” they had made in the financial year, which ended in June.
Saturday's event would have been an elective congress, but Safa decided earlier this year to move the elections to next year’s gathering, in line with the World Cup.
“Another reason for moving elections to the next congress was to make them fall in line with Fifa,” Jordaan said.
“It has been quite disruptive in the past to have elections just a few months before the World Cup".
He cited the chaotic Safa election in 2009, which ended with Kirsten Nematandani ascending to the hot seat as a compromise candidate following a bruising battle between Jordaan and Irvin Khoza.
Long-serving president Molefi Oliphant had stepped down and did not contest the post – on the eve of South Africa hosting the World Cup in 2010.
“The decision to move the elections was also in line with Safa’s Vision 2022, which is an eight-year programme that started in 2014 and will culminate with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” said Jordaan.
He said the idea was to have a plan and tenure covering two World Cups.
Jordaan was enthusiastic about his executive’s achievements in the first half of Vision 2022, saying: “When we came in, none of our national teams had qualified for international events in 2013. However, since 2015, our Under-17s have made it to their World Cup [twice], we had the male [Under-23] and female [Banyana Banyana] teams at last year’s Olympic Games in Brazil and our Under-20s qualified for their World Cup in South Korea.”
He reminded the gathering that Absa had at that time pulled out as a sponsor.
Asked about Bafana Bafana’s poor performances, Jordaan said: “We are obviously disappointed, but we are working on a technical plan that will improve their performance, as well as address South Africa’s problem of scoring goals".
He refused to give details of the plan.
Explaining how they had managed to turn Safa’s fortunes around, Hluyo said the organisation had to be creative and look at new revenue streams instead of relying only on sponsorships. These included cutting down on travel and accommodation. Staff had been trimmed from 76 to 68, saving R5m in salaries and Safa’s national executive had taken to holding its meetings at Safa House instead of hotels.
Other contributors to the revenue increase had been:
. Fifa’s Forward Programme that gave an annual grant of $500 000 (R6.8 million) as well as $170 000 to African countries for travel expenses, “because travelling in this continent is much more expensive than in Europe”;
. An $842 000 grant from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as a share for broadcast rights;
. A $100 000 annual grant from CAF, up from the previous $25 000 a year;
. A new four-year broadcast deal with the SABC worth R100m a year – he explained that Siyaya TV had ceded its rights to the SABC; and
. The SAA sponsorship increasing from R10m a year to R25m annually this financial year.
Hluyo said Safa was looking forward to generating even more money and saving more once its National Technical Centre, at the Fun Valley resort, had been completed. It is being built in southern Johannesburg at a cost of R100m with money from a Fifa grant and the 2010 Fifa Legacy Trust.
Jordaan said that, once the centre was complete, all national teams would be accommodated and train there at no cost to Safa.
“We expect the 2010 Fifa World Cup Trust to approve our application for funding to build a hotel at Fun Valley at their next meeting in February".