3 December 2017 – The year,2017, is the half-way mark (2014 BRAZIL to 2018 RUSSIA) on our eight-year journey to the FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022.

When we first developed our Vision 2022, we recognized the path to attaining it would be a difficult one. It would demand focus, concentration, commitment, infrastructure, human resources and massive financial investment.

We also recognized that the path to success is never a straight line nor is it perfect, like a sprint ,but it is more like the ‘long and winding road’ that John Lennon sang of.

At this half-way point, it is necessary for us to reflect on, what we have accomplished, and where we have failed.Vision 2022 is a delivery strategy with tangible and visable benefits for football in our country. Let us begin by reminding ourselves of the goals that we have set. It is quite simple. It is to build the organizational and technical structures that will ensure that SAFA is always rated  amongst the top federations  in Africa and in the World.

We have made this our bottom line.

We must listen to the counsel of Amilcar Cabral, a revolutionary ,writer  and poet. He said: “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas,for the things in anyone’s head.They are fighting for material benefits , to live better and in peace,to see their lives go forward,to guarentee the future of their children.”

Our responsibility is to improve the product of football, create opportunities for players coaches and referees, as well as, for administrators at national and international level. But in undertaking this assessment, let us reflect on what we have accomplished.

The key milestones on our Road to Vision 2022 focuses,especially at the developmental and youth levels.

Build:

  1. Consistent National Football Philosophy, and we have begun to implement it in our coaching.
  2. National academies.
    • Our investment in the National Technical Centre ( FUNVALLEY, over R100 million) represents our commitment to develop global benchmark in the development, of internationally  competitive teams .
  3. Provincial Academies based on Football Focused Schools must be realised.

Appoint:

18 Provincial Technical Officers, one male and one female. This will provide the operational capacity  to enable the Technical Director to drive the Association’s vision at Provincial level

YOUTH LEAGUES

  • We built a robust talent pipeline at Local Level and produced competitive junior provincial and national teams:
  • The successful implementation of the PSL Reserve League, provides competition for young players in the professional ranks
  • At the base of the pyramid, we remain committed to increasing U13, U15 and U17 players at LFA level
  • The integration Schools football into the SAFA Regional and Local Structures, remains a critical task.
  • More work must be done at LFA and Regional Level to ensure that leagues are strengthened.
  • IN SHORT WE NEED MORE YOUTH LEAGUES WITH BETTER QUALITY teams.

COACHES

We need to dramatically increase the number of qualified coaches eg. Germany, the current World and Confederation Cup Champions have 85,000 qualified Coaches. We need to train 10,000 coaches per year over the next 10 years to have the ideal player /coach ratio of 20 player per coach (We probably have 200 players per qualified  coach). These football development components of Vision 2022 have yielded significant fruit at a youth level.  Our U17, U20 and U23 Men’s Teams qualified for World Cup and the Olympics during this period. The players coming through these structures, have developed significant global competition experience. Better coaches produce better players, and better players produce better results.

Vision 2022 has already placed more than 80 young South Africans,both men and women, at some of the best clubs in the World. These players have transformed, not only their own lives ,but the lives of their families. Our U17, U20 and U23 Men’s Teams qualified for World Cup and the2016 Olympics during this period.

Let us now consider our failures:

Again  Cabral advises us to “hide nothing from the masses (our members) of our people . Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told.Mask no difficulties , mistakes, failures. CLAIM NO EASY VICTORIES.” We have to make the necessary assessment of what needs to be done in the remaining four years of our plan to make sure that we achieve the success we desire and that the country expects.

Our failure once more to qualify for the Senior Men’s FIFA World Cup is a stark reminder (not that we really needed it!) of the fact that ultimately our success, whatever else we do, will be measured by the performance of our Senior National teams , BAFANA and BANYANA on the GLOBAL stage, the OLYMPICS (success 2016 Rio Olympics) and the failure in 2018 Russia FIFA WORLD CUP.

And we must admit, therefore, that our failure to qualify for RUSSIA 2018, making this fifteen years of non-qualification,(2002 to 2017) is a significant setback on our path to the  DESIRED success.

While we had never made Russia 2018 a make or break milestone for our plan, it would have certainly accelerated our planning and given us great confidence for the final four years.

Failure gives a time for reflection, evaluation,and realignment. It must drive us to commit  a renewed focus and energy and with an honest assessment of where we are. Failure  is a warning to us that we require greater commitment, greater investment, and greater honest and transparent reflection on where we can and must improve.

Steve Biko: said “I would like to remind the black ministry and indeed all black people that God is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve the people problems ”. We must solve our problems.

The National Executive Committee that you have elected, had an evaluation workshop in March this year (2017 )and we give our assurance that we will undertake this task to implement measures to improve delivery with the urgency and diligence to secure the success that you expect, and that our nation deserves

The appointment of the COO and the group CFO and the experience that we gained will stand for the next four years to 2022.

This years FIFA World Cup qualifiers demonstrated a key lesson that the teams from 2014 world cup Brazil who failed to renew their squad, Italy, Netherlands, Ghana, Algeria and many other did not qualify for 2018. Renewal is a key focus for our teams as we prepare for the next four years. We need to add 4 years to the current age of players in the team. The Current Bafana Bafaba Team is part of the renewal.

The fact that we qualified for U17, U20, World Cups , as well as the Olympics 2016 , give us a base for the process of renewal. But a lot of hard work, dedication, commitment and patriotism remains the key requirement for success.

WOMEN:

The women’s teams success has been seen at Banyana level, with our qualification for the Olympics in 2016 and our performance at AFCON and being current Champions of COSAFA.

In this coming year, we launch the U17 and U20 Women’s World Cup campaign. We are now just one match away from qualification for the U20 2018 World Cup France.

Another key element of Vision 2022 is our commitment ourselves to build a world-class administration based on a financially stable and sustainable organization.

On this front the challenge has been great. The CEO and his team have done an excellent job of managing this difficult process, and I am pleased to announce that we have once more turned the corner to profitability, and will announce a profit for the year of R25 million

The sponsorship environment for all sports is tough, as a result of both local and global economic challenges. Despite this, we have signed Nike, SAA, Burger King, and have renewed contracts with SAB, Energade and SASOL. We have increased our broadcast revenue from R35m to R100m over this period.

We are also building the asset base as follows:

  1. Fun Valley National Technical Centre R100m already invested;
  2. A further proposal to build a hotel at the National Technical Centre valued at a further R100m;
  • SAFA House replacement value is R70m;
  1. The Legacy Trust has R211m in its account;
  2. SAFA Netcare shares are perfoming well.

 

We have also finalized and submitted our claim for $10m to the South African Government in relation to the Disapora Legacy funding during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Our relations with Government and other key stakeholders remain strong. We have established a good relationship with the new Minister of Sport and Recreation, the Honourable Thulas Nxesi, and thank him and his department for their support. We have many members serving on FIFA , COSAFA and CAF Committees, and I have the privilege of being elected to the CAF Executive Committee.

There are two Ministerial Committees of Inquiry announced by Hon. Minister Thulas Nxesi :

  1. Ministerial Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged Board related governance issues and non adherence to SASCOC’s constitution that impacts negatively on SASCOC and on sport in general.
  2. The second Ministerial Committee of Inquiry is of spectators at the soccer match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on 29 July 2017 at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.

We are willing to participate in both of these Commissions.

Finally, all of this has been done with the support of the National Executive Committee, and more importantly, with the support of SAFA Structures at all levels. We have developed an incredible sense of belonging and unity within SAFA. SAFA belongs to its members. It must remain that way. Various other sports tried forming Corporate or Business Entities. These structures were all abandoned in the end. The Regions remain the foundation of SAFA, and we are committed to securing further funding to support the development and operations of our Regions. In this light, the SAFA Development Agency has done important work to secure funding for Regions, and this will taken up by the ImaNathi programme.

  • We recognized that the efficient and effective use of technology would be a foundation stone for us. We are delighted with the progress of the MySAFA Digital project, that is delivering massive value to football administration at all levels. Over the next few years, the benefits of this technological development will cascade down to LFA level, and we will see significant changes in the manner in which  our football is administered.
  • Finally, we remain steadfast in our belief that we need to integrate world class insights and programmes in sports science and medicine to ensure that we are on top of all global developments.
  • In this regard we have concluded agreements with the Laliga , the most successful league in the world, as well as,an agreement with the KNVB.
  • These agreements will benefit our Regions and Provinces over the next year.We had our delegation of Provincial Representatives benefitting from our first engagement in Madrid, Spain from the 2 to 5 October

Our partnerships with La Liga and the KNVB, as well as with the British Council Premier Skills programme, have all assisted in funding critical developmental aspects of our game. We will continue to build on this to ensure that we build further capacity for Provincial Academies and other development structures.

Next year we will celebrating the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela. These centenary celebrations will further strengthen our partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. We are busy exploring how, in this important year, we can harness our relations with LaLiga and the KNVB to secure their participation in these programmes. We have celebrated Madiba every year since 1990, and will want to ensure that we do so in style in this coming year.

In closing, let me thank our commercial partners for the financial support to make our plan a reality. Their support makes the dreams of rural based poor young footballers a reality. Your support has taken Thabo Cele from KwaMashu to Portugal, Phakamani Mahlambi from Johannesburg to Egypt, Luther Singh from Riverlea, Johannesburg to Portugal.

Let me end with some wisdom of others.

Firstly, Jesse Jackson

“If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds”

And finally, Lolo Jones:

“A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow”

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