Daily Dispatch

Bigwigs get down to brass tacks to reshape the game


FORMER Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey‚ ex-Premier Soccer League coach Serame Letsoaka and Platinum Stars general manager Senzo Mazingiza are among the high-profile South African football personalit­ies participat­ing in the Confederat­ion of African Football’s symposium in Morocco‚ which could herald the start of drastic changes to the game on the continent.

A South African Football Associatio­n (Safa) delegation‚ headed by president Danny Jordaan, is also in Rabat for the two-day event‚ which kicked off yesterday with intense discussion­s on various aspects of the African football.

It could prove a watershed 48 hours if the participan­ts at the end resolve to change several of the more contentiou­s issues like the timing of both the African Cup of Nations and the annual club competitio­ns.

Moving the Nations Cup finals to a date in June where it will no longer clash with the European club season is one recommenda­tion that could be passed‚ as well as a possible expansion of the tournament to 24 teams.

This is in the wake of the successful increase in the number of teams participat­ing in the European Championsh­ip in France last year where minnows like Iceland and Wales caused major upsets and brought an exciting edge.

There is also talk of changing the next Nations Cup hosts with Morocco‚ who have been making a major power play in African football in recent months with donations to other African associatio­ns‚ set to take over the 2019 finals from Cameroon‚ although that is not an item on the agenda but rather a heavy undertone ahead of the start of deliberati­ons.

The frequency of the Nations Cup will be discussed too but holding it every two years rather than every four years means more money for African football and more competitiv­e games for the continent’s national teams.

Changing the dates of the club competitio­n games is also being proposed which will come as music to the ears of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and others.

Caf are also recognisin­g that playing group matches of the Champions League in May‚ June and July – where the continent’s top leagues are supposed to be off on holiday – badly impacts on clubs from top leagues‚ including that of South Africa.

They will propose changing the dates of the Champions League and Confederat­ion Cup so that it begins in September and ends in May‚ like the similar competitio­ns in Europe.

Tovey will be in a workshop with other top former African stars like Samuel Eto’o and Jay-Jay Okocha about a legacy for players and how to help young African footballer­s better prepare for life after their playing days are finished. — DDC

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