We gather at this Annual Congress of the South African Football Association in 2016, in a year in the history of our country that presents a series of serious challenges, progress and opportunities. We learn from the wisdom of William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar:

1. INTRODUCTION: CHALLENGES

We gather at this Annual Congress of the South African Football Association in 2016, in a year in the history of our country that presents a series of serious challenges, progress and opportunities. We learn from the wisdom of William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men (people), Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

We, as the leadership of SAFA must take the full sea of opportunity which is fully exploited for the benefit of football. We must also heed the advice and the wisdom of William Butler Yeats in The Second Coming,

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

We raise these advises and wisdom so that the successes of the first two years of this leadership must not in any way lull us into a sense of complacency, because the year that is past has shaken everything, the economy, politics and sport. In these challenging times we must walk the path of innovation, renewal and hope. We must walk the path of unity, reconciliation and continued pursuit of progress.

On a global level, as well as on the national and local level, challenges have arisen in the broader political and economic sphere and in the arena of football governance and leadership. New demands have been created that we have had to come to terms with.

Politics and economics are out of SAFA’s sphere of control, although changes and shifts in this landscape do have an impact on us, which is yet to be fully realised. Within the sphere of football, however, we have to support any attempt to improve the product of football. It is in these difficult times, however, that our true character is revealed. We have been through turbulent currents before, and as before we need to find within these diverse currents those streams that will propel us forward, and keep a wise and steady hand on the tiller to help us negotiate the obstacles.

Financially too, we have had a difficult year. The legislative delays to the roll-out of the national Digitial Terrestrial Television (DTT) network have had a massive impact on our partner, Siyaya. This has resulted in us having to reduce our projected broadcast revenues. Fortunately, the SABC has proved to be a faithful partner, and has taken over the free-to-air rights for our National Teams and finals of certain competitions.

More generally, the seriously constrained growth of the economy continues to make the securing of new commercial partnerships difficult, but in spite of this, we managed to secure a significant new sponsorship from South African Airways (SAA) and a new supplier agreement with Computicket. Moreover, BURGER KING® renewed its sponsorship last September with a R25 million injection that will now cover Amajita and the Boys’ Under-19 National Championship until April 2018.

2. PROGRESS AND OPPORTUNITIES

So in the context of these difficult circumstances, why did I begin with the somewhat optimistic clarion call from Brutus in Julius Caesar? Why is it that I believe that this is a particular time in our tide that calls on us to act decisively for our advantage. Brutus is arguing that the time is right and the opportunity is now.

Prospects in the next financial year:

  • We need to realise that the use of the internet is expected to grow considerably over the next five years. Almost 50% of the South African population are internet users, with a considerable number of millennials (economically active young men and women) driving this growth. Estimated spending on the internet is at R59.7 billion for 2017. SAFA must enter this space with the necessary urgency. We have been talking about this for over three years now. We need urgent and immediate action.
  • The Minister of Communication announced the date for television broadcast analogue switch-off for 28 October 2016. The Department said that the main reason for the world migration from analogue to digital is to release valuable spectrum which can be used for mobile telecommunication and other services.
  • The South African Post Office has commenced with the registration process for government subsidised set-top box decoders.

These developments are to be welcomed as SAFA must realign its business model to maximize these opportunities. We need to increase our revenue to generating capacity and reduce our Head Office cost and increase our assistance to our Regions and provinces. We cannot expect Regions to pay more and receive less financial support. “A child cannot pay for his mother’s milk.”

This pressure on revenue, when combined with the cost of supporting successful national teams without sponsors and funding development in line with our commitment, has meant that we have this year reported a loss position in our finances of some R40 million. It is incumbent on all of us, and in particular, our administration, to ensure that we do not have a repeat of this in the coming year.

On the positive side our strategy to build a football property profile to reduce expenditure and generate additional revenue is delivering results. SAFA House (R70 million) and the National Technical Centre (R100 million) provide a solid base for a secure financial future. The Legacy Trust has a cash deposit of R290 million. The total base is therefore solid but we need to increase our commercial revenue to over R3OO million.

I say this because for the first time we can see ourselves moving clearly towards the football goal of our Vision 2022 strategy. You all remember that the goal of this Vision is to create the structures to produce consistently successful national teams, all of which should be ranked always in the Top 3 in Africa and the Top 20 in the World. We have always stated that the first signs of success towards achieving this goal should be seen in our Junior National Teams. So let’s look at their performance:

  • Boys U17 finished in the top two in Africa and qualified for the first time ever for the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile. While they did not make it past the group stage of the World Cup, they played with pride and passion, and we have great confidence that this cohort of boys will graduate with success to the U20, U23 and Senior Men’s National Team in the future. In 2022, this group will make up a significant part of the team that will perform in Qatar.
  • Men’s U20 National Team just failed to qualify for the U20 World Cup in 2015, but have once again qualified for the CAF U-20 AFCON to be held in Zambia next year. As one of eight teams to take part, and with the top four teams progressing to the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea in 2017, we are confident that this team will qualify for the World Cup, and therefore be ranked in the top four in Africa.
  • Men’s U23 National Team qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games for the first time since 2000, by coming third in the African Qualifying championships. Their performance at the Olympics was initially inspiring but ultimately disappointing, as they failed to progress out of the group stages. We know, however, that doing this requires World Cup experience, and that none of those playing (except Itumuleng Khune) has had this. Hopefully, when the next Olympics comes around in 2020, we will have a number of players that will have been at two World Cups (U17 in Chile 2015 and U20 in South Korea 2017). This is our vision.
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We recognize that despite the performance of the Women’s Senior National Team in reaching the Olympics for the second successive time, the Junior teams have not done as well as we had hoped, with neither the U17 nor the U20 teams managing to qualify for their World Cups.

While the High Performance Centre continues to groom talent for these national teams, it is clear that more work must be done in women’s football at a developmental level. We are committed to this, and have demonstrated this by the establishment of the U13, U15, and U17 girls’ leagues at LFA level, and by a new focus on growing girls’ football in the schools.

We also recognize that the international experience that we require at a senior level comes through Club success in the African Championships. We are heartened in this respect by the recent triumph of Mamelodi Sundowns being crowned the champions of the CAF Champions League. The Kings of African Club Football, our own ‘Brazilians’, are as I speak, representing Africa in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, the first South African club ever to play on the global stage.

In 2015 April South Africa was called upon by CAF to host eight participating countries in the fifth edition of the Futsal Africa Cup of Nations and this was successfully delivered in Johannesburg at the Ellis Park Arena and Orlando Community Hall in April 2016. The sport has traditionally been dominated by North African countries but our neighbours Mozambique and Zambia (who South Africa beat 3 – 0 in the group stage) excelled to reach the semi-finals with Morocco and Egypt. Mozambique, Egypt and first time champions Morocco emerged from this tournament as the continent’s three representatives at the recently concluded FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia. SAFA is proud to continue its support of CAF and football on the continent by adding to our well established legacy of hosting international events and we are furthermore pleased to play our part in adding to the promotion and development of this variant of football. The five-a-side game is fast gaining ground in South Africa with our Associate Member, the SA Indoor Football Association, running a national league which extends countrywide and is now in its third year.

3. BUILDING ON SUCCESS

These successes encourage us. They inspire us to continue on the course that we have started, and to accelerate the delivery of football development throughout the country.

Through the work of the FIFA Legacy Trust and the SAFA Development Agency, resources for training, education, leagues and competitions are being secured, and we note with pride that in the past year that we have trained 2,174 coaches, bringing our total number of qualified coaches to over 14,000. This is still a way off our target of training at least 30 coaches in each LFA, which would give us 10,000, but it is a significant advance on where we were a few years ago.

Under the direction of the Technical Director, there is a current drive to ensure that there is an Instructor in each Region, and a CAF instructor in each Province. Eventually we would want an Instructor in each LFA and a CAF instructor in each Region, and will work systematically towards that goal.

The base of Talent Development will feed into the National Technical Centre that is under development at Fun Valley. We expect completion of the first phase of pitch construction to be completed by December 2016, while the upgrading of the accommodation and offices is well underway.

These foundations that are being laid are deep and strong. But as any builder knows, foundations are complicated if they are ultimately to deliver the basis for sustainable quality player development. We are still building these foundations, and they are being built well to ensure that the Vision 2022 success is achieved. We are confident that in the coming year, more and more of these structures will be emerging from the deep foundations and will become visible to all.

4. IN MEMORIAM

SAFA lost members of its football family during the period under review and in the last few months. May their souls and those of others who have passed rest in peace. The following are some of the leading individuals who passed:

  • Mr Norman Middleton :SA Soccer Federation President, South African Council of Sport President
  • Mr Ted Dumitru: Bafana Bafana Coach
  • Mr Urban de Kock: FIFA, CAF and SAFA Coaching Instructor
  • Ms Gloria Makhoba: SAFA Receptionist
  • Mr Nkosi Molala: Footballer (Pretoria Callies formerly Bantu Callies), Azapo President
  • Mr Lawrence Ngubane: Football Administrator, Orlando Pirates Team Manager
  • Mr Sello Mokoena: Women’s Football Coach

And a special mention of former FIFA President João Havelange who presided from 1974 to 1998 and our former Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile who served in this capacity from 2004 to 2010. Both played crucial roles at pivotal times in SAFA’s history – our readmission to world football and our work ahead of hosting the World Cup.

5. IN APPRECIATION

The SAFA Development Agency has raised over R70m towards football development over the past few years through support from Total Sports, SASOL, PPC Cement, Chevrolet, AVIS and others. Thank you to the CEO of the Development Agency, Dr Robin Petersen, and his team for this work.

The members of the National Executive Committee, and especially our three Vice Presidents, I thank you for your continued dedication in underpinning and advancing the work of the Association.

Our CEO and his diligent and committed staff who are constantly hard at work ensuring the success of our ever-increasing programme of complex and challenging projects. We want to thank each and every member of staff for delivering all our international matches, meetings, tournaments and servicing our members. Last but not least our own Regional Members, Presidents and Executive Members of our Regions, Associate Members and Special Member who offer support and cooperation throughout the year. On behalf of the Association I wish to thank the Minister of Sport as well as the Deputy Minister and the Director General for ensuring that sport and football in particular remains on the progressive path that they have mapped out.

Finally, I would like to thank our loyal and committed sponsors SAB (CASTLE LAGER), SASOL, NIKE, SABC, SIYAYA, GRAND PARADE INVESTMENTS (BURGER KING®), MOTSEPE FOUNDATION, NETCARE, TIGER BRANDS (Energade), AVIS, TSOGO SUN, EY, Computicket and the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP LEGACY TRUST. At the end of last year we engaged in an agreement with COMPUTICKET and in March of this year we welcomed on board SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS (SAA) as a returning sponsor and to both of them I extend heartfelt thanks. Also a special word of gratitude to the NATIONAL LOTTERIES COMMISSION for its contribution in July towards our two teams heading to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Vision 2022 is taking shape and becoming a reality before our eyes: more and more domestic competitions at youth age groups are being organised across the country; more and more of our national teams are winning in qualifying rounds and advancing to continental and global tournaments; more events, seminars and courses are being hosted and organised by the Association; and we are the current African Club Champions. Hence, our calendar becomes busier and busier and our programmes become ever more extensive and all-encompassing. You have all risen to the fresh challenges and met the extra demands that we are facing together. I urge you forward as we continue to tackle our mandate that will ultimately bring to fruition Vision 2022.

I THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT.

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