Safa to donors: Thanks, but no thanks

Com­pa­nies want to re­ward Banyana ex­cel­lence, but Safa says it will not take hand­outs

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSELEKU sm­se­[email protected]­press.co.za

“You can­not turn a na­tional team, a suc­cess­ful one at that, into a char­ity case. Show me one per­son who be­came rich from beg­ging on street cor­ners!”

These are the strong words of Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan af­ter his or­gan­i­sa­tion fobbed off ap­proaches from a num­ber of com­pa­nies that wanted to do­nate to­wards Banyana Banyana’s bonuses af­ter the team lost 4-3 on penal­ties to Nige­ria in the Women’s Afcon fi­nal, but qual­i­fied for the Women’s World Cup next year.

Safa and Banyana spon­sors Sa­sol gave the team

R2 415 000 to share among them­selves for their feat.

“We have had so many ap­proaches since the team’s suc­cess, how­ever, our ap­proach has been that let’s sit down and dis­cuss a sus­tain­able plan rather than a on­ce­off do­na­tion,” said Jor­daan.

One of the en­ti­ties that made head­lines last week was in­sur­ance com­pany MiWay, whose chief ex­ec­u­tive, René Otto, called in to Bon­gani Bingwa’s break­fast show on Ra­dio 702 and pledged R100 000 as a once-off “fes­tive sea­son bonus” for Banyana.

This was re­jected out­right by Safa, which called Otto and oth­ers who had of­fered do­na­tions “op­por­tunists”.

An as­tounded Otto was quoted on the CapeTalk ra­dio web­site on Mon­day as say­ing: “I can’t ex­plain to you why Safa turned the of­fer down ... I’m a lit­tle bit at a loss for words.

“The of­fer was not made to Safa, but to the play­ers. They are the ones who over­came the ob­sta­cles and showed us a level of ex­cel­lence that we haven’t seen for a long time in the coun­try. It’s re­ally just a do­na­tion to cel­e­brate ex­cel­lence.

“No one at Safa spoke to us ... They just say we are be­ing op­por­tunis­tic. The play­ers are un­der­paid.”

How­ever, Safa act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Rus­sell Paul said he had made con­tact with Otto. Otto said Paul told him that, if his com­pany was gen­uinely in­ter­ested in help­ing grow women’s foot­ball in the coun­try, “they must come up with sus­tain­able sup­port for women’s foot­ball, not just a once-off do­na­tion”.

“I did speak to him and ex­plained our po­si­tion that they must come sit around the ta­ble with us and dis­cuss a sus­tain­able plan to sup­port women’s foot­ball. He did not seem to agree with me on that ap­proach. How­ever, we have agreed to take this dis­cus­sion fur­ther,” said Paul.

He added that some peo­ple who had made of­fers seemed to come from a po­si­tion of ig­no­rance or they were not well in­formed.

“I was shocked when [Otto] told me that he had heard that there were no bonuses for Banyana Banyana, hence his com­pany’s ges­ture. I mean, we struc­tured bonuses [in Jan­uary] this year.”

Paul also ex­plained that the of­fers for do­na­tions were not made through Safa, but as an an­swer to Ra­dio 702’s clar­ion call.

“The pledges were not made di­rectly to us, but to 702 af­ter their chal­lenge to cor­po­rates last week. I also told them in an in­ter­view on Mon­day that thanks, but no thanks, we will not ac­cept hand­outs.”

When asked if re­ject­ing such do­na­tions was short­sighted for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that had just re­ported a loss in its lat­est fi­nan­cial re­port, Paul said: “Yes, we did re­port an R18 mil­lion loss at our congress on Sun­day, how­ever, that does not mean Safa is on its knees. We will turn things around.

“The rest of Africa is say­ing South Africa is the only coun­try that can cur­rently host the 24-na­tion Afcon next year. We are go­ing to bid to host and we also plan to reg­is­ter our in­tent of in­ter­est with Fifa to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“Can you imag­ine what it will mean for Banyana Banyana af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for next year’s [tour­na­ment] to then play the 2023 World Cup at home? We pushed very hard and in­vested a lot of money to get Banyana to qual­ify for the World Cup and we are pleased with the out­come,” said Paul.

Otto con­firmed he had spo­ken to Paul and that it was true they had agreed to take the dis­cus­sion fur­ther. He also con­firmed that he had ini­tially been told that Banyana didn’t get any bonuses.

HERO’S WEL­COME From left: Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan, Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa, Banyana Banyana cap­tain Ja­nine van Wyk, Banyana head coach De­siree El­lis and Sa­sol vice-pres­i­dent of group com­mu­ni­ca­tion and brand man­age­ment El­ton For­tuin dis­play the R2 415 000 cheque that the Banyana team will share

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