Irvin Khoza retained his position as chairman of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) when he was re-elected unopposed, but that does not mean he is not open to eventually handing over the reins.
The 68-year-old has been the league’s top administrator since 2002 and has been hailed for spearheading the commercial success of the PSL. Shortly after he was given a further four years in charge, Khoza said it was important to start blooding in new faces into an experienced executive committee that includes Kaizer Chiefs chairman, Kazier Motaung. Some of the old guard in Mike Mokoena (Free State Stars) and John Comitis (Cape Town City) lost their seats in the executive, with Jose Ferreira (Bidvest Wits), Khumbulani Konco (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Rejoice Simelane (Mamelodi Sundowns), who replaces her husband Dan, among the newly elected.
“It’s important to look to the future because some of us will not be here forever and need to leave a lasting legacy,” said Khoza. “The best way to implement a succession plan is by sharing information because you cannot handpick (who is in the board of governors). We now need to give people responsibility and it is for them to show us they can take it on. This is our way of blooding in new talent. There is quality here at the PSL. The last 14 years we have had the same faces and there are only three survivors now. We hope things will change as we delegate more now because things are changing, especially with social media. You cant wait for breaking news at 7pm anymore.”
He announced that the PSL had made a R15-million profit, adding that for the brand to grow, the challenge for those who have been in this industry for decades, like him, was to pass on their expertise.
“There is nothing more powerful than de-briefing,” Khoza explained. “Some discussions are not always in the minutes, so the trick for us is to know when to share it or make the comments. It is a plus for us to have new faces coming with fresh ideas. Rejoice adds value with her qualifications and it is her responsibility to talk about the economics side of the game, and with her and Mato Madlala (PSL acting CEO) we have tried to balance the gender. Ferreira brings his legal experience and will work together with our legal council. Konco is the new technology generation and he is one of the 'Youth League' as we at the PSL call them. We are dealing with the discussion of succession because most of us are on our way out sooner or later.”
Khoza also confirmed the hunt for a permanent CEO. Madlala has had dual roles as the chief executive as well as owner of Golden Arrows for nearly a year since Brand de Villiers resigned a year ago. “Football looks easy from the outside, but we have had people trying to assist and it takes years to absorb culture of our game. Mato came in as club chairperson and she understands managing cash flow and expectations of the sponsors.
“There are a lot of things she identified that needs our attention. The executive will sit down and look at those things. We will deal with things differently now. It was an advantage to have her being the CEO, to the point where they asked her to leave Golden Arrows. She is an accountant by training and her experience came in handy. She is tried and tested, even Trevor Phillips (who had two stints as PSL CEO) took a while to learn new things even though he was commercial director for the (English) FA.”
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