Go-getter Mngadi intent to turn Bafana Bafana into world beaters

WORLDLY: Sbu Mngadi. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 12/03/2007. © Sowetan.
WORLDLY: Sbu Mngadi. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 12/03/2007. © Sowetan.

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

New South African Football (Pty) Ltd (commercial wing) interim chief executive Sbu Mngadi comes across as a man ready to roll up his sleeves and turn Bafana Bafana into world beaters.

Only two weeks into his new job and he has already identified his "key priorities".

His immediate priority is to fill the Bafana Bafana team manager's vacancy "with a strong administrative and operational individual who understands football".

"We need somebody with a strong technical management knowledge and savvy. However, I am not looking for a coach or someone who harbours ambitions of being a coach. We need a good asset manager," said Mngadi in his introductory interview with Sowetan.

But first he will present his organisational design and operational budget for approval by the SA Football board on March 28.

"Once that has been achieved, I will be looking at getting the structures to full capacity and capability by the end of May," Mngadi said.

Until this interview, SA Football had been a closed entity with nothing emanating from it but conspiracies and power struggles among unnamed individuals, a scenario fuelled by sections of the media.

According to the former Coca- Cola southern Africa director, though, the formation of SA Football was meant to separate development and amateur football from the three national teams: Bafana Bafana, the Olympic team and Banyana Banyana. (The under-20 and under-17 national teams are considered development teams).

"SA Football is a registered company with Safa as the sole shareholder. It is an administrative entity that will be in charge of all the commercial activities of the three national teams.

"It came about as per recommendations of a task team led by Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane after we failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and performed atrociously at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

"By commercial activity I mean procuring sponsorship for all the brands, negotiating broadcast rights, merchandise sales, trademarks and the new professional referees' wing. Our other major assignment is to establish an elite Safa academy," Mngadi said.

"Currently, we have pockets of commercial activity taking place at Safa and our responsibility is to coordinate all those and be a key enabler to professionalise them.

"We need to enable the coach and his staff to get the talent he is looking for. Deliver the talent to them so they can produce a world-class team."

But Mngadi would not be drawn into commenting on whether Bafana Bafana, the Olympic team and Banyana Banyana brands have been undervalued.

"All I can say is that there is lots of room for improvement. There are some worrying loopholes in the contracts," he said.

Mngadi dismissed suggestions that there were attempts in Safa to stall SA Football's progress.

"There is no shred of evidence that there are people who do not want SA Football to take off. Instead, I have found an enabling, supportive environment.

"I am not suggesting there will be no challenges. As a corporate executive, I know from experience that conflict is unavoidable when you manage more than five people. I think it is about time people stopped creating imaginary feuds," he says.

Mngadi is positive that by the time his interim contract expires in nine months, SA Football will be at full capacity and capable of delivering on Safa's mandate.

"I want to put together an executive team with a robust marketing function. The emphasis will be on strong competence and skill in marketing. I have never failed as an executive and I am not going to fail now.

"I want all the positive energy and enthusiasm to rub off on my team, the challenges notwithstanding," he concludes.

The board of directors of SA Football meet monthly. The members are Molefi Oliphant, Mwelo Nonkonyane (chairman), Mubarak Mahomed, Danisa Baloyi, Leon Prins, Raymond Hack, George Negota, Trevor Phillips, Goolam Allie, Danny Jordaan, George Scalcoyannis, Saki Macozoma and Sam Msimango.