Deputy President of SAFA, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana
Members of the NEC
Technical Committee Members
CEO of SAFA
Ladies and gentlemen
Honoured and Distinguished guests
All protocol observed
"There is nothing wrong with pursuing a vision for greatness. After all, the great organisations also set out to create greatness. But, unlike comparison organisations, the great organisations continually refined the path to greatness with brutal facts of reality” – Jim Collins (in his book Good to Great)
Ladies and gentlemen, we are faced with brutal facts of reality…….
It is very important to pause and reflect about our football environment from time to time – where we come from, where we are now and where we are going!!
I believe reflection will afford us confidence and peace of mind – it will get us back to the right track if we’re moving in the wrong direction. Reflection is an absolute requirement for a growing organisation like ours. Reflection is about analysis, critique and exploration.
Hence as we embark on a journey of self-discovery and reflecting on the past events I urge you as the football family to do that sincerely. Today marks an important milestone in the history of South African Football whereby experts of our beautiful game will endeavour to dissect the challenges we’re facing.
The theme is dubbed “Creating Sustainable International Success” – therefore we need to align our strategies moving forward to that of the continent and the world. Rightfully, we belong amongst the top countries in the continent and the world given our infrastructure and talent.
It is therefore befitting to be creating a sustainable strategy towards the success of our game.
Our core strategy as the South African Football Association is to develop and transform football in this country. This is one of the many initiatives hosted by the Association in taking the beautiful game to another level.
The emotional affinity to the game is massive in our country, thus it is of paramount importance to continuously do quality controls, checks and balances.
This is due to the fact that we are in a business that carries the hopes and aspirations of the nation. Not only that, but also have huge international appeal. In such a case, one must tread with caution and strive towards perfection at all times. The big challenge is how do you then strike the balance technically? A critical question for this symposium?
How do we enhance the technical expertise that are so abundant in our country….? How do we incorporate the technical know-how to the overall picture?
The other key aspect that should not be forgotten is the scientific analysis of our current situation? What are the trends globally? How do we compare with the countries that we compete with? This symposium should be able to clearly point out the way-forward.
Furthermore, it is absolutely crucial that we analyse our diverse country compared to that of other top performing countries and ask ourselves – is football our only focus?
With this consultative and participative approach, we are determined to overcome the challenges we have experienced recently and believe that this symposium creates an important avenue to address our shortcomings.
Our broader aim is to build an organisation that is people-orientated, therefore this gathering is all about listening to the people of this Rainbow Nation because this sport belongs to them, the specialists in football and most important the general public.
There has been huge interest from the members of the public who have given their own suggestions on how we can improve the ‘Beautiful Game’, which have been duly noted. These suggestions will form part of this workshop which has been planned in three phases, of which this is the first phase. The selected phases are as follows:
1) Looking at where we are and the benchmark we need to set ourselves (which is this symposium)
2) Identifying the six pillars that will form part of our vision for sustainable success and
3) The final phase commences in July, where we will focus on the corrective measures required to address the challenges facing South African football in general.
The process that will be followed in this first phase will be submissions that will be collated by international and local technical experts and form the basis of research and recommendations that will be presented at the next symposium, which will take place during the off season in July this year.
Yes, the 1996 squad was talented but they had mental strength as well. If you take that side and almost all teams that do well all over the world, the difference is in the mental approach. It is not only skills because; I believe our current crop of stars are very talented. Our football players need to be mentally tough if we are to create a sustainable winning culture for longer periods of time.
These are indeed mammoth tasks but not insurmountable. How do we shape the future of South African Football? It is evident that this gathering must provide solutions to the above challenges.
I am however, confident that the deliberations and insights shared should produce desirable outcomes.
On behalf of the South African Football Association, I trust that you will engage in an honest and constructive manner.
We appeal for an inventive and innovative approach whilst you tackle the diverse issues facing us.
I declare this symposium officially open and best of luck as you deeply focus on this journey of reflection!
Best wishes and thanks