As you are well aware that we (SAMLFA) are a fully recognized body and an Associate member of SAFA, have powers and full participation in all congressional matters within the mother body (SAFA). Since the Masters and Legends amalgamated to form SAMLFA in 2013, the mother body has fully endorsed and supported us as former footballers and we have enjoyed the right to express ourselves within the processes and procedures of SAFA.
This, Associate membership, has increased and improved our relations (SAMLFA and SAFA), and our communications pertaining football matters, governance and operations. But, in the same vein, matters relating to the role of former footballers in the executive structures of SAFA. Since 2013, the SAMLFA voice has contributed towards:
Increased and improved relations between SAMLFA and SAFA national
Increased and improved relations between SAMLFA and the SAFA provincial and regional structures
SAFA’ skills development programmes for former footballers
Participation of former footballers within SAFA administrations, technical structures and the SAFA committees
Full participation and representation of our members in SAFA congresses
And, more work is being done to increase the participation and contribution of former footballers within all the levels of SAFA structures. These developments are being done through consultations with the leadership of SAFA and has been making immense progress since 2013. However, there is no quick fix schemes and we understand that proper processes and procedures must be followed in order to address the challenges affecting our football and former footballers, in the right platforms and with the relevant bodies of SAFA.
However, there are those who intentionally or unintentionally suppress these developments and the progress that has been achieved so far, to speak ill of SAFA. These voices do not reflect the true nature of our relationship with SAFA.
It is correct and it is right that we, as former footballers, must be unified and organized to formulate a strong representative voice for all our members under this umbrella. In order to understand how to properly position ourselves within the SAFA structures, we need to properly educate ourselves with SAFA’ policies, its code of ethics and Constitution. Otherwise, we will continue to be divided and used by those who have ulterior motives that have nothing to do with the cause of former footballers neither nor the good of football itself. Let us be vigilant and be on guard against those who want to divide and use us for their own end. And let us stop making ill-informed utterances to the public.
As I write this and I am aware that the SAFA elective congress will be held next month and there are campaigns going on around the country. This is a democratic process governed by the SAFA Constitution where all affiliated members of SAFA, including SAMLFA, have the Constitutional right to participate and to contest for leadership positions, it is the only legitimate platform and process through the SAFA structures. For the first time in the history of our football, former footballers will have a representative or representatives in the National Executive Committee of SAFA, the highest decision making body outside of Congress. It will be a historic moment for SAMLFA and its members and it is high time that truth be told.
The progress that has been made and achieved so far would not have been possible without the tireless efforts, engagements and consultations initiated by the SAMLFA President Mr Buddha Mathathe, the late SAMLFA Vice-President Mr Philemon Masinga (may His soul rest peacefully) and the SAMLFA secretary general Mr David Nyathi with the support of the SAFA leadership.
Today, SAMLFA and its members (former footballers) are in a better position than they have ever been before in the history of South African football and it is just the beginning. The support to increase and improve our structures in the SAFA provinces and the SAFA regions is opening platforms for our members to contribute to the development of our football through SAFA and SAMLFA partnerships. However, more work still needs to be done and more commitment and dedication is required. I trust that we will be even stronger going forward.
Finally, We, SAMLFA, would like to wish all the candidates all the best in their campaigns and in the spirit of good sportsmanship the best candidate prevails.
In the end, let football be the ultimate winner.
I thank you.