6 December 2018 – This is the final part of a 5-part introductory series into MYSAFA that explores how it is enhancing amateur football in South Africa. We also examined some of the insights and trends in football development and the ABC Motsepe League, the SAB League and the SASOL League.
The five parts of this series were:
- What is MYSAFA? (19 November 2018 – if you missed it, click here)
- Player registrations, cards and the ABC Motsepe League. (21 November 2018 – if you missed it, click here)
- The competition system, MYSAFA public and the SAB league. (26 November 2018 – if you missed it, click here)
- User support, women’s football and the SASOL League. (28 November 2018 – if you missed it, click here)
- Development, talent identification and the future.
If you have any questions, comments or ideas please email us or make contact with us over social media.
What can you do with a digitised football ecosystem? This is the question that drove SAFA leadership to launch MYSAFA in 2017. Now, two years and over 178,000 registered players, 66,000 matches and a growing network of administrators, coaches, parents and fans, later, the answer is starting to becoming clearer.
Part of the answer is that you can target, accelerate and promote football development.
As MYSAFA continues to expand, SAFA will have a greater ability to make small targeted tweaks in local grassroots funding, registration fees, league structures, competition formats and even the rules of the game. We will then be able to measure the impact of these ‘shocks’ precisely. If the results are positive, we can make the changes more significant and more permanent. In short, with accurate data, smarter communication and improved accountability, football administration starts becoming a science.
Thanks to improved transparency, cheating becomes harder and the sport becomes more enjoyable and professional. More people will want to enter organised football, and more sponsors and private-sector partners will join the game at all levels.
We saw in a previous post how the Kwathema Sports complex is the most used match venue on MYSAFA. This kind of information on the utilisation of specific (indoor and outdoor) fields could, and should, be used by municipalities, government departments and corporates to direct their infrastructure and sponsorship spending.
Looking at football more holistically also means that often forgotten or overlooked areas of the sport, like junior or women football, get more attention. This broadening of what we measure means that performance, professionalism and good sportsmanship will matter more at all levels of the game, and not just at a few.
In the past, SAFA was only really able to capture reliable statistics for its provincial leagues. Since its launch last year MYSAFA has started to empower league admins to capture competition data – at every level of the sport in every LFA.
“What gets measured gets managed”, “what gets measured gets done” and “to measure is to know” are proverbs often associated with business. They also apply to football. MYSAFA is becoming a measurement warehouse for all organised amateur football in South Africa.
For matches across the country, SAFA is able to see who played, where they played and how they performed. Similar information is also available on match officials and coaches.
In the next year, national team coaches and technical teams will be able to ask questions like who is the most successful “target man” playing a 4-5-1 formation in SAB League the past two seasons? Which referees are most likely to award a penalty in the last five minutes of regulation? Who is the most successful Sasol League coach playing mainly U21 players?
With MYSAFA these questions can be answered quickly and objectively. It is creating a football meritocracy where regional, provincial and even national team selection can be based, at least partly, on statistical fact.
The future: We want to win the World Cup
The MYSAFA team has made no secret of our ultimate ambition. In football, the measure of success is always winning. Consistent top performing teams bring attention and investment that can then be channelled to talent development and projects with social benefits beyond the pitch. In the end, the ultimate measure of the success of a player, club or association will always be goals-for and goals-against.
We strongly believe that if Iceland can qualify for the World Cup, Leicester City can win the EPL and Belgium – with a population one-fifth that of South Africa – can be the number one ranked team in the world, then we can win a FIFA World Cup.
This is admittedly a long-term goal that exceeds the timeframe of SAFA’s Vision2022, but it reinforces the notion that “digital” is not something you do for a couple years and then you’re done. SAFA’s vision for MYSAFA involves continual refinement, growth and expansion.
Germany’s commitment to digitizing their association was motivated by their early exit from Euro 2000. Fourteen years later they became World Champions for the fourth time.