Safa-Sasfa war over pres­i­dency

Govern­ing body de­nies power play in tiff with as­so­ciate mem­ber Sasfa as they may chal­lenge for pres­i­dency

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Abit­ter war be­tween the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) and its as­so­ciate mem­ber, the SA Schools Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Sasfa), which have taken each other to court in the past, is brew­ing.

This af­ter rev­e­la­tions that Sasfa pres­i­dent Mandla Maz­ibuko has been ap­proached to chal­lenge Danny Jor­daan for the Safa pres­i­dency next year.

Maz­ibuko told City Press that he had been ap­proached, but had not yet made up his mind.

Many ob­servers see the im­passe over the run­ning of schools foot­ball in the coun­try as a re­sult of the 2014 Safa elec­tion, when Maz­ibuko and Jor­daan went head to head.

“For me, it’s not about that,” said Maz­ibuko. “I chal­lenged for that be­fore and, if mem­bers want me next time, and I am avail­able. I will stand. And, as a mat­ter of fact, I have been ap­proached al­ready by var­i­ous other stake­hold­ers to make my­self avail­able. It’s an open se­cret, but that should not be an is­sue that peo­ple are wor­ried about – whether you will stand or not ... We must rise above petty pol­i­tics and work to­wards build­ing a bet­ter so­ci­ety.”

Even Safa said the spat had noth­ing to do with a power play be­tween the two pres­i­dents.

Safa spokesper­son Dominic Chimhavi said: “Why should this be seen as a power play? Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth. Safa is and re­mains the govern­ing body of foot­ball in the coun­try. There is no need to fur­ther demon­strate any power in what has been an oth­er­wise smooth process of talks that led to an agree­ment to de­velop a new struc­ture un­der Safa. Safa has no equal in South African foot­ball and does, there­fore, not have to demon­strate power to gov­ern the sport that it has gov­erned demo­crat­i­cally since its in­cep­tion.”

He said Safa’s con­cern “is about the chil­dren play­ing foot­ball in our school sys­tem, and it will fo­cus on that ob­jec­tive and leave out any com­pet­ing per­son­al­ity con­tests”.

Safa claimed vic­tory in the on­go­ing saga last week. This week, Sasfa came out guns blaz­ing in re­tal­i­a­tion.

Sasfa dared Safa to stay away from its mem­bers af­ter some were part of the mother body’s press con­fer­ence last week.

“What Safa is do­ing is us­ing a di­vide-and-rule tac­tic,” said Maz­ibuko.

He said those who had aligned them­selves with the new Safa struc­ture – who in­clude sus­pended sec­re­tary­gen­eral Steve Pila and the two vice-pres­i­dents, Dick­son Molepo and In­no­cent Sirovha – would be af­forded a chance to ex­plain them­selves.

Na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Si­man­gal­iso Mgenge has de­nied be­ing part of last week’s meet­ing af­ter his name was men­tioned as be­ing part of the new body.

Maz­ibuko al­leged that Safa was re­luc­tant to meet with them, say­ing their re­quests for meet­ings had been met with re­sis­tance.

Safa said that, although it had not ruled out an out-of­court res­o­lu­tion, it was now “pre­pared to go to court in the con­text of Sasfa’s state­ments on Wed­nes­day”.

“Safa has agreed it must grow schools foot­ball by uni­fy­ing it through­out the coun­try, and has done so con­sis­tently over the past two years – run­ning schools foot­ball com­pe­ti­tions and in­te­grat­ing it into its 52 re­gional struc­tures. It has ap­proached other role play­ers in schools foot­ball and Sasfa in this process.”

How­ever, Maz­ibuko in­sists his or­gan­i­sa­tion re­mains the au­then­tic voice of schools foot­ball in the coun­try.

He has now sought the in­ter­ven­tion of the de­part­ments of sport and ed­u­ca­tion to help end the im­passe.

The de­part­ment of sport said it was aware of the is­sue.

“In an ef­fort to al­low the two bod­ies to ex­er­cise their in­de­pen­dence, the min­is­ter had in­structed them to hold dis­cus­sions and re­solve the cur­rent im­passe, fail­ing which the min­is­ter’s open direc­tive was for both par­ties to ap­proach him to ap­point a me­di­a­tor to fa­cil­i­tate the dis­cus­sions to re­solve the cur­rent is­sue,” the de­part­ment said on Fri­day.

Un­less the two de­part­ments in­ter­vene and re­store or­der, chil­dren will most likely suf­fer in the on­go­ing bat­tle for con­trol of schools foot­ball.

PHOTO: THEMBA MAKOFANE

AVAIL­ABLE Sasfa head Mandla Maz­ibuko

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

BIG BOSS Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

SUS­PENDED Sasfa sec­re­tary-gen­eral Steve Pila

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