Johannesburg - The SA Schools Football Association (Sasfa) is ready to settle its differences with its mother body, the SA Football Association (Safa).
Speaking at last week’s Copa Coca-Cola tournament in Bloemfontein, Sasfa president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko said the organisation was open and ready to work with Safa.
“There is no reason we can’t work with Safa. Whose interests are we serving if we are not working with Safa?” he asked.
Mandate to run schools football
The two organisations are at loggerheads over the running of schools’ football, and the matter is before the courts.
“This is more about politics than what meets the eye, but, as far as we are concerned, we are working with everybody you see around here [at the tournament], including the departments of education and sports, stakeholders and the teachers’ union. There is no reason we should not work with Safa".
Mazibuko said Sasfa had not disputed that Safa was the custodian of football in the country.
“It is them [Safa] who disputes that we have a mandate to run schools football. Fortunately, that mandate can not be challenged.
“From the onset, we didn’t have an issue. Remember, it was Safa that – out of the blue – decided to derecognise us without any apparent reason".
He challenged Safa to help them rather than mislead the public about the details regarding schools that were participating in development programmes.
“People are talking and trying to mislead the country around the number of schools participating or that should participate. The truth is that we have 25 000 schools in the country. However, out of that number, there are not more than 6 000 high schools [that participate in the development programmes], and not all of them play soccer as there are those that play other sport such as rugby, cricket and hockey,” he said.
“You know, we don’t have girls’ leagues in the country or girls’ programmes in the schools, so you don’t use that as a ploy to say that Sasfa is not touching enough schools. What are you doing as a mother body to assist your associate member?” he asked, referring the question to Safa.
The Sasfa elective conference is set for next year, and Mazibuko said a solution to the saga could be found then.