Ex­pect fire­works at Safa’s AGM

CityPress - - Sport - S’Bu­siso Mseleku sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za

Ev­ery four years, the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) elec­tive congress pro­vides fire­works. The an­nual gen­eral meet­ings (AGMs) in be­tween are usu­ally calm and never draw much at­ten­tion. But Satur­day’s one prom­ises to be dif­fer­ent. There are a num­ber of in­no­va­tions that the coun­try’s foot­ball gov­ern­ing body has up its sleeve this time around.

Ac­cord­ing to sources in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s higher ech­e­lons, some of th­ese are:

An un­prece­dented awards pre­sen­ta­tion, with some of the awards go­ing to real big­wigs in the coun­try.

The me­dia be­ing al­lowed to sit in and wit­ness parts of the AGM.

The invitation to top politi­cians and a num­ber of po­ten­tial spon­sors.

At the congress, Safa will high­light a num­ber of its suc­cesses and point out that th­ese have been achieved within the first year of the cur­rent ex­ec­u­tive. Th­ese suc­cesses will in­clude:

A fi­nan­cial turn­around strat­egy that will see the as­so­ci­a­tion re­port a sur­plus for the first time in ages.

En­dorse­ments from the SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee, and Par­lia­ment.

Banyana Banyana, and the men’s Un­der-20 and Un­der-17 teams, hav­ing qual­i­fied for their re­spec­tive con­ti­nen­tal Cup fi­nals.

But there are surely go­ing to be fire­works to­wards the end of the gath­er­ing when two con­tentious is­sues come up for dis­cus­sion by the del­e­gates. The first is­sue is a con­sti­tu­tional one that calls for a change in the tim­ing of Safa’s elec­tions.

While the four-year term is in line, there is a call from the en­tire foot­ball-play­ing world – af­fec­tion­ately called “the foot­ball fam­ily” by world foot­ball gov­ern­ing body Fifa’s makhu­lubaas, Sepp Blat­ter – to change the tim­ing thereof.

While elec­tions the world over are usu­ally held after World Cups to align with the global soc­cer business cal­en­dar, Safa holds its elec­tions a year be­fore World Cups.

This has had a ten­dency to desta­bilise the men’s na­tional team – Bafana Bafana – as new ex­ec­u­tive bod­ies tend to get rid of the na­tional coach at this time.

Those who follow the game closely will re­mem­ber what a co­nun­drum this sit­u­a­tion cre­ated with the 2009 elec­tions when Molefi Oliphant was begged to stay on as the coun­try was to host the big shindig the fol­low­ing year.

He de­clined and the AGM was almost thrown into dis­ar­ray as the two strong men of SA foot­ball – Danny Jor­daan and Irvin Khoza – vied for the top post.

Even­tu­ally, a com­pro­mise was reached, with the pair pulling out of the race and thus Kirsten Ne­matan­dani found him­self walk­ing close to Blat­ter at ev­ery World Cup-re­lated event in 2010.

The sug­ges­tion is that the ex­ec­u­tive elected in 2017 should serve for just more than a year and hold the next elec­tions after the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia so their term runs un­til the 2022 event.

Those in favour of this idea fear that should a new or­der come in at the 2017 elec­tions, Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba’s plans for the 2018 World Cup could be de­railed.

They point to the fact that when South Africa last qual­i­fied for a World Cup in 2002, there was still sta­bil­ity in Safa, with Oliphant stand­ing un­op­posed.

The next hot potato to be dealt with by the congress will be the rec­om­men­da­tion of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee that vi­cepres­i­dent Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana be ex­pelled.

This rec­om­men­da­tion will be tabled for the congress to en­dorse or re­ject.

While there seems to be a strong sen­ti­ment that the wily old ad­vo­cate has be­come more of a li­a­bil­ity than an as­set to Safa, there are those in­di­vid­u­als who see this as an op­por­tu­nity for them­selves to be­come vi­cepres­i­dent.

But there are a few who are pre­pared to stand firmly in his cor­ner.

No mat­ter which way this mat­ter goes, we will surely not hear the end of it at the congress.

As it is, Nonkonyana has taken Safa to court, which many feel is him once more breach­ing a con­sti­tu­tion he played an in­stru­men­tal role in draft­ing.

It does seem like a no-win sit­u­a­tion, but it has be­come such an ele­phant in the room, it needs to be ad­dressed.

So it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how this mat­ter pans out when it comes to de­lib­er­a­tions, or is taken to a vote.

Un­for­tu­nately, it seems this will be one of those ses­sions that will not be open to the me­dia. (If only I could be a fly on the wall.) No mat­ter what hap­pens, it does seem that this AGM will live to the usual ex­pec­ta­tions of pro­vid­ing fire­works and prove once more that no Safa meet­ing is a dull af­fair.

City Press would like to ex­tend its con­do­lences to the fam­ily of for­mer sports jour­nal­ist Me­shack Mot­loung, who was laid to rest yes­ter­day.

See Voices for an obituary.

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