26 May 2018 – Good day! We wish to welcome the FIFA Representatives Mr Solomon Mudege, Senior Development Manager and Mr David Fani, the Regional Development Manager. Our Honorary Presidents, Prof Lesole Gadinabikao and Dr Molefi Oliphant, and other honorary members.
These are the founding fathers of South African football under SAFA and they, through sacrifice, dedication and commitment had led SAFA from international isolation to membership of CAF and FIFA and participation in global football competitions.
The SAFA Vice Presidents and members of the National Executive Committee or Council and the membership of SAFA the Regions, Associate members and our Special member, the National. Soccer League, delegates, the media and friends,thanks for your valuable contribution to the growth and development of the game in our country. We welcome you and thank you most sincerely.
Every day, in life and in football, comes with its blessings and its challenges. For both these eventualities we are surely all drawn into the wonder of creation, the wonder of what makes us human beings the wonder of hope in justice, peace and the integrity of creation! The wonder of football ability to unify and galvanize the people of our country as demonstrated through the Centenary celebrations of our Former Head of State and icon Nelson Mandela. The wonder of global football icon Leonel Messi and his Barcelona team to rekindle the spirit of ubuntu, social cohesion, patriotism, and sheer joy amongst many South Africans and many more worldwide. The wonder of Football that brought Messi, Iniesta, Suarez and Gerald Pique back to our country after they all participated in the 2010 Fifa World Cup – Madiba’s World Cup.
We treasure the joyous Memories of Iniestas great goal that won Spain its First World Cup in 2010. We hold the memories of the great anguish and pain caused by Suarez two fisted block that stopped the goal that would have seen Ghana qualify for a semi final place. This would have been the first for an African country to qualify after 106 years of world football. It was a tearful night at FNB Stadium.
We are blessed to be able to serve this game that connect us to each other and to the world. There is a divine sense in which we find amazing ways to be connected and interconnected. And even if we all have so much love for football, our primary placement of that love is with the Almighty who is revealed to us in many ways.
So today we come together for a few matters, and it includes saying to ourselves that these moments in the life of our aaaociation remain extraordinary. I need not elaborate, but some of you know the chorus… in moments like these, I lift up my hands singing. I love you Lord… For our first dependence in on the power of life, and when all the blessings are celebrated and all the challenges are calibrated and moderated, our souls reach out and our bodies respond by lifting our hands.
We also tend to lift our hands in exasperation We lift our hands when we do not know what to do. We lift our hands in a call for help. We lift our hands when we worship. We lift our hands when we praise. Today we will lift our hands to vote. And when we lift our hands today let us lift our hands for unity. Let us lift our hands for that which is in the best interest of SAFA and of Football. Let us lift our hands for women representation. Let us lift our hands for the inclusion of everybody, those who may be successful and those who may not be successful. Let us lift our hands for a SAFA that must engage the Government on the bidding for a Fifa women’s World Cup and /or a Fifa Club World Cup both these events are 24 team events.
The newly elected NEC or Council members must finalise the matter and consider the establishment of a feasibility study committee to investigate the matter. Let us lift our hands for progress and unity. However, we must remember that an organisation cannot grow when its members hands are always in the air for the wrong reasons. Our challenge now is to find the creative spaces to lift up our hands for the right reasons and to embrace goodness and light.
We must lift our hands for progress, for stability, for football development.
I thank you