7 January 2019 – With over 172 000 players being registered on the MYSAFA system since January 2017 and a competition system that has managed over 60, 000 matches in hundreds of leagues, it is easy to see why this revolutionary software is slowly but surely making waves in South African football.
For those new to the system, MYSAFA is a player registration and competition management system, launched by the South African Football Association (SAFA). The ultimate goal of the system is to ensure transparency within amateur football, prevent cheating and promote a more organised and professional structure in South African football as a whole.
Four components inherently power MYSAFA.
Firstly, the player registration system. Here, players are registered by a SAFA Local Football Association (LFA), Region or Province. The identities are checked against the Home Affairs data-base and digital and physical ID cards are handed out (with a FIFA Connect ID number).
Registering players in an orderly fashion makes it harder for any cheating to occur and also allows SAFA to check that players playing in South Africa are not currently registered in another FIFA Connect-compliant country.
Greater transparency and the use of FIFA endorsed registration practices, have led to a steep decrease in disciplinary cases within all leagues that utilize the system.
FIFA Connect ID integration will also one day assist with the assignment of FIFA Solidarity and Compensation Payments. When a player turns professional, these payments are made to the clubs that trained him or her from age 12-21.
In 2019, MYSAFA will also launch a new Verifier App that allows a coach or match official to quickly download cards to his/her phone for a team, after scanning a single card.
Also, MySAFA will soon be used for coach and match official registration as well (including qualifications, payment features and performance).
Observations noted after ABC Motsepe League registrations, were particularly interesting and offered insights never seen before, particularly regarding age (is youth or experience more vital to success?)
Secondly, the competition management system as alluded to above. Here fixtures are set and results and match reports are captured and logs easily generated.
This is an important part of the system as it helps identify just how good any registered player actually is.
Thus far, 22, 985 games have been recorded on the system with 45% of home teams winning and 36% of away teams being successful. Drawn matches account for 20%. MYSAFA helps quantify many aspects of the game such as this.
Regarding talent development, the SAB League may be the most important of all and may get the most benefit from the system. With 52 regions and 1,500 SAB teams, things were difficult to keep track of before, but not anymore.
Thirdly, all information is then made available on the MYSAFA public site for players coaches, family members and the general public to easily peruse.
It has proved to be a very user-friendly platform and many fans have flocked to the web and mobi sites on Monday mornings to see how their teams did. No such platform has existed before.
Finally, the MYSAFA support team ensures that there is help if anyone is ever stuck.
It’s not enough to have world-class software. The human factor is crucial. The MySAFA support team is led by “Romeo” Ngxolo, a devoted leader. Other staff include individuals with the right mix of skill and patience to work with all users.
The team use a ticket system to track and route issues as calls and emails come in throughout the day. On-site training of regions and LFA’s can be arranged and will accelerate in 2019. The MYSAFA support system will always go out of its way to help any user.
Other points to take note of include MYSAFA’s 100% adoption rate among regions, which is a huge feather in the cap in the rollout of the system, as is the success of Women’s Football.
It is no secret that Banyana Banyana has qualified for the FIFA World Cup to be held in 2019. MYSAFA will ensure that this type if success is sustained and provide insight into the most effective programmes, where resources should be spent and also help retain and attract talented female athletes.
The Sasol League is also another fine example. In 2018 MYSAFA registered 3,343 players from this league. On the pitch, MYSAFA recorded some interesting runs of form and key differences among all nine provinces.
As MYSAFA continues to expand, SAFA will have a greater ability to make small, targeted tweaks in local grassroots funding, registration fees, league structures, formats and even the rules of the game. With accurate data, smarter communication and improved accountability, football administration starts to become a science. It is about creating a football meritocracy where regional, provincial and even national teams selection can be based, at least partly, on statistical fact.