Safa finds home base for Bafana

THE South African Football Association wants to make the Esselen Park Conference Centre Bafana Bafana's permanent home base.

THE South African Football Association wants to make the Esselen Park Conference Centre Bafana Bafana's permanent home base.

Safa chief executive Leslie Sedibe made the announcement in Pretoria yesterday.

"The key challenge for us is that Safa does not own real estate. We want to have our own base, which will be a world-class facility," he said.

"Esselen Park must be refurbished and it will not be ready for use by Bafana Bafana as a team base camp for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. That is why we have identified Sandown College as our base camp for the World Cup, with Southern Sun in Grayston serving as our hotel for the tournament.

"It is regrettable that Bafana Bafana did not choose the best facility as early as May 2004, when we won the bid to host the World Cup, because we were the first to qualify."

He said contracts for the hotel and training camp will have been signed by next Friday.

"In fact, we are also negotiating with Sascoc (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) for all our national teams to use Esselen Park for their camps. It will be upgraded with world-class facilities like the gymnasium and swimming pool to cater for all the codes."

Sedibe said the plan to revive the Transnet Football School of Excellence, using funds from Fifa's Goal Project, was well on track.

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