18 December 2018 – By now most local football fans and perhaps coaches and players, would have become familiar with the new software that is being implemented nationwide by the South African Football Association (SAFA) – MYSAFA.

For those who may still be in the dark, MYSAFA is a player registration and competition management system, that creates more transparency across all football structures around the country, prevents age-cheating and ultimately ensures a more professional South African footballing set-up and ethos as a whole.

MYSAFA’s Dhirshan Gobind had a chat with President of the SAFA Phoenix region in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Desmond Ganesan, who has actively utilized the system over the past year and acquired his objective insights into the system, the importance of junior football and recommendations going forward.

Ganesan was initially impressed with the manner in which the software transformed previous registration processes.

“The system has honestly made things much easier for administrators such as myself. Previously there was no structured way of doing things and this led to a number of issues,” said Ganesan.

The President touched on the specific aspects that have improved with the advent of MYSAFA.

“Cheating is a thing of the past now as players identification numbers are logged and verified with Home Affairs. Fraud was very common in the past with certain players representing two or more clubs or lying about their ages. MYSAFA has helped to curb this. Also, players switching teams is also made much simpler as the system immediately informs us that a clearance is required,” stated Ganesan.

The Phoenix boss also spoke about the actual process itself.

“It is really quick, easy and user-friendly. It only takes a few minutes to register a player. I have a senior and junior coordinator who handle this. Only they have passwords and access, which helps with the security aspect. Printing of the cards is also very easy and comes out really nice. This process helps us start the season immediately,” he said.

Very importantly, the administrator also talked about the importance of junior football and how MYSAFA can benefit juniors.

“Our LFA (Local Football Association) registers all our leagues from the juniors up to the senior level (starting at U-9 level). With MYSAFA, all details are logged are stored for life, from the most junior levels all the way up to possibly national teams. This also helps to identify talent as players can be tracked at the click of a button from young boys,” stressed Ganesan.

FIFA’s new solidarity payment strategy ties into this quite nicely, with the aim of this program being to reward clubs who help to develop players in youth systems. Ultimately, if a player makes it big, the initial club is entitled to a percentage of transfer fees, which could be quite substantial. MYSAFA ensures that everything is logged and hence there can be no confusion about exactly where that player came from.

This will encourage administrators to get kids into talent pipelines as early as possible. However, even with all the positives mentioned, Ganesan did have a couple recommendations to offer.

“The person capturing the details needs to be honest and someone that you can trust. Also, with juniors, their birth certificates don’t have photos obviously and hence that is an area that could be manipulated. If MYSAFA finds a way around both issues then it will virtually be sound-proof,” Ganesan said.

The software has already registered close to 200, 000 players (incidentally Phoenix was the LFA to register the 100,000th player) to date, and has a number of upgrades and improvements lined up for 2019, which will cater for coaches and even match officials.