Durban – Much-needed and wide-ranging football development plans announced by SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan will require major funding, as well as sound management skills, to implement.
But the national body claims to be confident of raising the cash from various sources, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a great deal of news on the investment front since former Safa chief executive Robin Petersen was tasked with setting up the Safa Development Agency in December 2012 for this purpose.
“We will fund this by approaching our sponsors, working with the government at all levels, by seeking assistance from Fifa and Caf and the National Lotteries Board,” said current Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble in confirming that the plans under Jordaan’s leadership would be costly to implement.
“We are confident this money will be found because it’s so obviously important to all of South Africa.
“The future of South African football is riding on this if we are to achieve our objective of consistently being among the top three teams in Africa and the top 20 in the world,” Mumble said.
Building on the formerly announced “Vision 2022” and “Technical Master Plan” of the national body, Jordaan announced there would be a major overhaul of Safa’s focus and that getting proper development structures in place was now an overriding priority to achieve their aim of getting Bafana Bafana to reach a much higher position in the rankings and to feature at the so-called business end of major competitions.
Coming out of a three-day lekgotla of Safa executives, Jordaan said there would be an increased emphasis on the improvement of youth teams and women’s football, a reintroduction of inter-provincial tournaments for men and women, and the creation of football academies in all nine provinces “with co-operation of government at all levels”, among other things.
“We have thrown away the drawing board and are starting on a new slate,” Jordaan said.
“If we are to have a national team that can compete with the best in the world, then we have to strengthen development at all levels in order to produce players capable of beating the best in the world,” Jordaan said.
Jordaan also promised a tightening of lower-league regulations to improve standards, a major training programme for scouts and coaches to enhance their abilities to improve talent identification across the country, and “strengthening our club licensing system to ensure proper governance and to promote development within the club itself”.
He said the lekgotla had decided on several steps to ensure the success of the programme, with a Safa team to be formed to engage with the minister of sport, universities and school sports governing bodies to decide on practical steps to strengthen youth teams.
The first of the new interprovincial tournaments, for under-17 boys, will take place at Moruleng in the North West from March 28 to 31.
An under-19 boys’ tournament will take place in Bloemfontein from April 27 to May 2 and there will be one for under-19 women in Modimolle, Limpopo, from August 4 to 9.
But with Safa saying Mumble has been tasked with implementing the changes, the function of well-paid Petersen within the Safa Development Agency could change, although long-suffering football followers in the country will say titles and Safa organograms won’t matter much as long as the overdue projects do see the light of day.