IOL Sports soccer writer Njabulo Ngidi.

The make-up of the highest decision making bodies of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the South African Football Association (Safa) is quite scary and depressing.

The executive committees of both institutions are made up of old men, a large number of them pensioners. There is no denying that they have played an instrumental role in getting our football to where it is today. 

We should be grateful for their contribution and what they have given us. 

But what makes the make-up of the executive committee of these institutions depressing is that it doesn’t seem like there is a succession plan to prepare future leaders to take over the current crop when their time is up, or ensuring that the collective that runs our football is diverse.

It doesn’t help the situation when some of the young people who are in high positions make ludicrous claims like AmaZulu’s general manager, Lunga Sokhela, who put his foot in his mouth by tweeting that the PSL chairman Irvin Khoza is the “only individual in South Africa” who can lead the organisation.

That might be his opinion and he is entitled to one. But it’s both reckless and undermines the many competent football leaders that the country has.

What Sokhela doesn’t get is that as a young man in a position of power he doesn’t only represent himself but also young leaders who aspire to be where he is. 

Someone should remind him that leadership positions aren’t a birthright. It might be hard to understand since he is where he is mainly because his father is the owner of Usuthu. 

There’s no doubt that people like Khoza, Kaizer Motaung, Danny Jordaan and Jomo Sono among others played a big role in shaping our football and the PSL to be what it is today. 

But none of them are the only people who are capable of leading any football institution in the country.

We need fresh and young blood that will not only learn from these men but also continue on their legacies. 

At the moment, it doesn’t seem like enough is being done to ensure there is a seamless transition when their time is up. Our football has moved a lot from where it was two decades ago. But there is still more that can be done to take it to the next level.

To achieve that we need people with fresh ideas and different thinking from the current crop. 

Imagine what can be achieved if there is more young blood in positions of power to complement the expertise and contacts the old guard has? 

The problem is that we think that we can only have one over the other. That’s why Sokhela found it easy to use the word “only”. 

Balancing the two would do our football a great deal of good because we shouldn’t rest on our laurels but ensure that the strides that have been made are continued.

A different approach is needed to balance between increasing the number of bums on seats and maximising the TV rights that are worth billions. Football consumption is no longer the way it was two decades ago. 

The TV that has been king for so many years is under threat with dwindling subscribers as many people go the live stream route. Football must catch up and understand that at the moment the cellphone will take over the throne soon.

Young people with a strong digital background can help in that transition because they are better versed in that space than the old men. 

This is just one example of the need to rethink how we do business so that we make the most of it and the revenue streams increase.

The long, drawn out Tendai Ndoro saga has had a negative impact on the country’s football brand, and whoever says otherwise is lying. 

The saving grace is that the 2018/19 season will start on time after the Urban Warriors withdrew their urgent interdict to stop it from starting and accepted their position in the National First Division. 

But the situation is far from over because the outcome of the leave to appeal Judge Denise Fisher’s decision that set aside Advocate William Mokhari’s ruling could still have far-reaching consequences. 

We need to tighten our checks and balances to ensure that things like this are picked up early and are solved quickly.


Saturday Star

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