NKARENG MATSHE | Paranoid Safa probably want a puppet as presidential candidate

Many in Safa have not even taken integrity Test required from Radebe

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe
Former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The heavy handedness response of the SA Football Association to reports that Lucas Radebe may be interested in running for that organisation’s presidency tells of an air of paranoia surrounding Safa House.

Safa bizarrely released a patronising, ill-advised statement this week in which Radebe’s reported bid to replace Danny Jordaan as Safa head honcho in 2027 – when thankfully the latter will depart after years of misrule – was rebuked and ridiculed.

That statement was totally needless given that Radebe isn’t the first person to declare interest in serving among the Safa leadership, with many others before him – such as Ria Ledwaba and Ace Ncobo – having publicly contested.

We couldn’t help but notice that this statement, said to have been released by Safa’s “membership committee and endorsed by the national executive committee”, plumbed new depths even by the notoriously lowly standards prevalent at the Safa madhouse.

Instead of embracing Radebe’s reported ambition to serve in the higher echelons of football structures, as someone who represented the country with such dedication, Safa chose to go on a warpath, as if to say “don’t even think about it”.

It is the kind of myopia that has, for years, closed the door on potential talent that can help add much-needed oxygen to a wobbling Safa.

Of course, by virtue of merely having played football doesn’t guarantee anyone would prosper in leadership positions. But it’s not as if the current Safa leadership are covering themselves in glory, even as in their statement, they sang their own praises by claiming they are “busy with football”.

Among the 10 points which they listed as evidence of them being “focused on delivering football programmes”, Safa couldn’t see the irony in adding “junior teams’ preparation and development”.

Yet some of our national junior teams have virtually been inactive and do not have full-time coaches. No under-23 coach has been appointed since David Notoane, who was a part-time coach, quit in March after failing to take SA to the CAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

Safa also listed Banyana’s Women Africa Cup of Nations preparation as something that keeps them “busy”, forgetting they presided over the chaos that was the same team’s departure to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year. Like egotistical politicians who thrive on misinformation, they think they can easily get away with these gimmicks of playing to the gallery.

In the case of Radebe, Safa played the man, telling him he would have to go through an “integrity Test” to qualify for a leadership position, and that he must be a member of one of Safa’s 52 regions to be nominated. Radebe has not said he won’t do all that.

In fact, he should, as advised by Safa Joburg chairperson Phil Mogodi, in a Sunday World story, and Pollen Ndlanya, in a report we carried this week.

There can’t be free lunch in football hierarchy and Radebe will have to work the ground, unlike the greedy incumbents. Many of those who are in the Safa structures have not walked the path they vehemently advised Radebe to take – including undergoing the so-called integrity Test. They are in those positions simply because they are kowtowing sycophants and have the shameless ability to look away when wrong is being done.

Safa’s over-the-top reaction tells me Jordaan could well be looking to anoint a puppet from among this loyal bunch of bootlickers who would sweep all the allegations against him under the carpet when his third term ends in 2026. People like Radebe must not be deterred, instead they should be encouraged to raise their hand even higher so we can hope to stop the rot at Safa House.

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