Plan to develop and promote soccer

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South African Football Association (Safa) top brass are not resting on their laurels but have already started preparing for the sport beyond the 2010 World Cup.

Molefi Oliphant, Safa president, said they had already put in motion plans to promote and facilitate the development of soccer.

Oliphant said that will be done through sustainable infrastructure and training of various people.

He said some of the people that the local soccer governing body will train include administrators, coaches and referees.

"We intend embarking on life skills programmes for football players. It should be borne in mind that the country is experiencing a massive infrastructural development.

"The idea, among others, is to create and improve sporting facilities and venues. Our facilities are world class. They have been tested by various sporting codes.

"We'll also engage in a proactive dialogue with the government to generate a partnership in recognition of football as a national asset.

"Through the LOC [Local Organising Committee] we have forged a formidable partnership with the government. The LOC is often referred to as an extra-parliamentary cabinet structure.

"Through this partnership, football was able to provide the guarantees required by Fifa for staging of such tournaments as World Cup."

The Safa boss was speaking at the Sowetan Extra Time in Rosebank on Friday night.

Oliphant said Safa, which was now financially stable, will create a beneficial relationship with the corporate world.

It comes after the federation recently secured massive sponsorship from Absa and Castle Lager valued at R250 million each.

They have also lured Coca-Cola and Pick 'n Pay as supplier sponsors, which Oliphant said will play a significant role in the development of the sport.

"Football is big business. For a long time we concentrated on the social entertainment side of this beautiful game.

"Slowly but surely we are beginning to expose football to its total role, part of which is resource building for the growth and development of the teams."

In terms of their vision, Oliphant said Safa wanted to become a leading soccer federation globally, adding that it is equally important to assemble a world-class team [Bafana Bafana].

"We are in the business of football, one thing we have to excel in is in football.

"In terms of our commercial drive, we are taking care of our symbols, trademarks, mascots and all brands as well as apparel.

"We guard against ambush marketing and ensure that we help create an environment in which our partners will be able to leverage the sponsorship."

Answering a question from the floor, Oliphant said it was untrue that members of the Safa subcommittees did not get allowances for attending meetings.

On whether Safa was grooming a future leader, he said the organisation did not have such an arrangements as regions would only come up with a name or names when elections are held.

Another question was on whether Safa was not considering adopting the 50-50 gender policy advocated by the ANC.

Again Oliphant explained that that would be dictated by regions through the names they would have forwarded for nomination.

"We cannot dictate to our members because that would be wrong. We are very democratic."