Johannesburg - Phil Mogodi, the Johannesburg region president of the South African Football Association (Safa) has hit the ground running.
The former Soweto Local Football Association (LFA) president was elected last month and has already held meetings with some top local government officials and potential sponsors.
“I have already laid out my plans to the City of Johannesburg. I’m waiting for an appointment with the mayor and the Gauteng premier to take them through my plans. I have met with Putco [the bus company] to try to bring them aboard as sponsors of one of the leagues within Safa Johannesburg".
Explore sponsorship opportunities
Mogodi said he would try to meet as many stakeholders as possible.
“Johannesburg is South Africa’s economic hub and we need to explore all available opportunities. Many big companies registered on the JSE, such as Anglo American, have their headquarters here in Johannesburg. We need to see if they can assist us in some of our programmes".
Professional clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits and Jomo Cosmos were based in Johannesburg and he intended to see if he could forge partnerships with them.
His aims include:
- Setting up a programme to bring Indian and coloured communities back to the mainstream of football;
- Organising a Johannesburg football indaba;
- Holding meetings with chief executive officers of big Johannesburg-based companies to explore sponsorship opportunities;
- Establishing a Safa Johannesburg premier league;
- Meeting Gauteng cricket and rugby leadership to get advice on how they got their development right and see if there are any areas they could cooperate in; and
- Meeting sports sponsorship agencies such as Megapro, Sail and Octagon to establish a working relationship.
“In our approach, we will avoid encroaching on those companies that already sponsor Safa national, the Premier Soccer League and individual professional clubs,” Mogodi said.
He earned his spurs playing amateur football in far-flung Ga-Molepo in Limpopo, dabbling in the sport in Dube, Soweto, as a newly arrived country bumpkin and selling peanuts and apples at soccer venues such as Orlando, George Goch, Sinaba and Lynnville.
He can easily claim to having been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
One of six brothers, Mogodi singled out his grandfather Harry Maloka and older brother William – known as “Chicks” among his peers – as people who were instrumental in his ascent to the top echelons of South African football.
A motormouth of note, Mogodi said his grandad instilled such discipline in the young urchin that he neither drank nor smoked.
William was the one who introduced him to selling at stadiums. They would start as soon as the gates opened at 09:00 and buy tickets to enter the ground just before the professional soccer match started at 15:00.
“We used to travel by train to stadiums such as George Goch, Sinaba in Benoni and Lynnville in Witbank to sell and watch clubs such as Moroka Swallows, Benoni United and Witbank Black Aces, he reminisced in an interview in a Rosebank restaurant a few days ago.
Worked his way up the ranks
It would be easy to accuse him of name-dropping as he rattles off the names of Doctor Khumalo, whom he played against when they were primary school kids in Dube Soweto; Pirates boss Irvin Khoza, who was then the secretary at the club; Kaizer Motaung and Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala, all of whom he first met at the Orlando Stadium as a seller.
“Doctor was a dribbling wizard from our primary school days, when he played for Dube Higher Primary, while I represented Mokgolokwane Primary,” he recalled.
A chance meeting with local doctor Peter “Kop” Matseke, when they took an injured Dube Continental FC player to his surgery, led to a lifelong friendship.
Mogodi works for the Clinix Group, which Matseke founded.
After hearing of their plight, Matseke bought Dube Continental a full playing kit. This led to a relationship that saw him work at Matseke’s surgery on Friday afternoons.
The club went on to produce professional players such as Eugene Zwane (Jomo Cosmos and Pirates), Bruce Ramokadi (Pirates) and goalkeeper Edison Sithole.
After being co-opted into the Safa Southern Gauteng executive by then president Joe Makhongoza, Mogodi worked his way up the ranks until he became Soweto LFA president.
His sterling work included revamping the Simba Football Centre in Soweto, now the Nike Football Training Centre, empowering staff and getting sponsorships for tournaments such as the Zodwa Khoza tournament, Nike Premier Cup, SuperSport Under-19 Future Champions, Discovery Walter Sisulu tournament and the Putco Under-15 Tournament.
However, his tenure will be remembered for his endless fights with the mother body for his LFA to be given regional status.
After being elected to his new position, Mogodi could be in the Safa national executive committee after the March 24 elections.
He said he supported incumbent president Danny Jordaan to remain in office.
“I have told him that I support him for another term so that he can finish the work he has started and rectify some of the mistakes committed in his first term".
He had a warning, though.
“Things must change drastically. We need to discuss our core business, which is football, in our meetings rather than side issues. There is also some dead wood – some people come to meetings and then sleep through the whole thing and there are those who are often absent from meetings".