Chiefs close in on title

PSL almost settled

Farouk Khan gets no help from SAFA
Farouk Khan. No help from Safa.jpg

Kaizer Chiefs has not lost a match since the 24 November when Platinum Stars beat them 2-0 in Rustenburg, and after a goalless draw against Stars, Chiefs are closing in on the Absa Premier Soccer League crown. In fact, if they can collect six points from their next three matches, they will make sure of domestic title glory.

Stars are six points, while the defending champions, Orlando Pirates, are seven points off the pace, but with four matches left.

Chiefs still have to play against Ajax Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, while they have a potentially tricky encounter with SuperSport United beckoning.

But judging from their impressive record – 155 days since their previous defeat – Chiefs are just a few weeks away from domestic success.

Therefore, their supporters are ready to shout “Amakhosi 4 Life”.

The rest of the domestic football family has had little reason to celebrate lately.

It is because of the nature of media reports about alleged abuse of World Cup money by the South African Football Association (Safa).

The Sunday Times alleged in a report that suspicions deepened that soccer bosses had dipped into World Cup cash to keep Safa afloat.

According to the Times, a study by KPMG audited financial statements revealed that Safa made a loss of R54.5 million for the year to June 2012.

The accounts confirm that Safa received R113 million in the past two years from the Fifa World Cup (FWC) legacy fund for the development of football, insiders said that was partly splurged on buying 27 Mercedes-Benz vehicles and other luxuries.

Dennis Mumble, CEO of Safa, admitted to the Sunday Times that R8 million of the FWC cash had been used to buy the Mercedes-Benz vehicles for Safa’s executives in 2011 – even though this was not budgeted for, stated the Sunday Times.

Perhaps one should ask the question how much Safa has invested in academies during the past five years.

It is an important question as academies in Germany has been at the heart of the revival of soccer there.

Bayern Munich routed Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final recently, while a sensational exhibition of goal-scoring from Robert Lewandowski drove Borussia Dortmund to a dominant win at the same stage of their Champions League semi-final, as they destroyed Real Madrid 4-1 at home to put one foot into the tournament`s final.

It is difficult to believe that Real and Barcelona, arguably two of the greatest soccer clubs in the world, would suffer so heavily at the hands of two German clubs.

It is hard to believe, yes, until you study history.

According to a revealing column in the Sunday Independent, the German Football Association compelled all Bundesliga clubs to set up academies in 2001, with grass pitches, floodlights, artificial pitches, youth teams from u.12 to u.20 as a condition of their licence.

In 2002, this was extended to Bundesliga 11 clubs.

When the Leadership Intelligence Bulletin phoned Farouk Khan, co-owner of the influential and successful Stars of Africa Football Academy, about whether Safa has offered support, Khan was frank and earnest: “I have never received a cent from Safa. Even if our academy produces five Bafana Bafana players, we would still receive zero commercial assistance from the national body.”

Safa did not even bother to respond to a request for a financial grant by Khan and the Academy.

Two players in the current Bafana Bafana team, May Mahlangu and Tokelo Rantie, graduated from this academy, and have been in sparkling form for Bafana Bafana.

Some observers consider Mahlangu as an attacking midfielder with the potential to mastermind South Africa’s evolution to an African soccer giant, with the assistance of Dean Furman and Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

Yet, in spite of the superb work done by this academy, Safa did not even bother to invest into their work.

Perhaps the time has come for the government and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (Sascoc) to launch a wide-ranging investigation into the financial affairs of this beleaguered body.

The lack of leadership at Safa to direct some of the biggest soccer clubs in Africa, like Chiefs, Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United and others to invest in soccer academies so that the development of youth players and their evolution to senior status could strengthen the national team, has been alarming.

It is time for the government to get to the bottom of the alleged corruption. Unfortunately, Fifa’s stubborn refusal to allow such an investigation, and its thinly veiled threats of banning South Africa from its global competitions, temporarily prevented the government and Sascoc from acting decisively.

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Issue 375


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