15 February 2018 – South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan said the Association was in full support of a number of changes proposed by the world governing body (FIFA) at the recently ended summit in Muscat, Oman. Among the new proposed changes was the scrapping of the u17 and u20 World Cup tournaments which will be replaced by a larger FIFA Youth Men’s tournament comprising u18 or u19. The tournament will have 48 teams while the same age group for women tourney will have 24 teams.
The Men’s tournament will be divided into 16 Groups of three teams each of which the two top teams will advance to the next round of 32. The next phase will be divided into 8 groups of 4 teams each of which the top two from each group goes to last 16 which will deliver the quarter-finalists, semis and ultimate winners.
The women’s youth tournament will almost be run on similar format and FIFA emphasised the need to continue growing the game among women.
“This is a major growth area; back home women participants grew from 212 000 in 2013 to a staggering 456 000 in 2017. This is a massive shift but we need to do even more,” said Dr Jordaan. “We have active national teams at all levels from u17, u20 to senior level. We are now in the process of establishing a National League and this is where I think we will have a boom in numbers.”
featured image: (l to r) SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, SAFA President Dr. Danny Jordaan; pictured during the recent FIFA Summit in Oman