Football is one of the most popular and passionate sporting activity not only for the greater majority of our people in this country but for people all over the world. England is known to be home to some violent hooligans under the sun, all in the name of passion for football. In South Africa football receives lucrative funding from major multinational corporations which only benefit greedy and selfish football administrators. The fans also loose when their favourite sport degenerates while a few continue to enrich themselves off the sweat of others.
The glaring paradox of the lucrative football industry is the poverty of players towards the end of what is often a short career. There is no exit plan for the welfare of players after retirement. Most players leave the field to join the ranks of the poorest of the poor after the short stint in the football field. At the same time the discipline of players and the standard of football have in the main being dropping progressively. These ills together with the disengagement of government from active participation in sports management and development, in particular football, are to the detriment of players.
Next year South Africa will host the 2010 soccer World Cup. It has since emerged that, on the side, there is a bitter war for the post of South African Football Association (SAFA) president between Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordan. This prompted the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to force the candidates to choose between SAFA and their deployment in the FIFA Local Organizing Committee (LOC). In the stinging words of FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke: “Whoever is elected will have to decide which mandate to keep. You cannot sit on two chairs”. The analogy of the impossibility of one person, of average built, sitting on two chairs is quite instructive.
If truth be told, the jostling for position by Khoza and Jordan has nothing to do with inspiring vision to the develop football but is rather a self serving excise. It is likely that some will invoke raw African nationalism to advance their self interest and shed it immediately after they are comfortably secured financially. SAFA elections must go ahead and the candidates must decide whether to serve SAFA or FIFA not after the election but in advance. FIFA is being generous to allow these power mongers to decide their fate on the basis of whether or not they get elected SAFA president.
There should be no room for somersaulting. To postpone SAFA elections so that the two can finish their “quick bucks” scoop at FIFA and then vie for SAFA will be to sanction greed and opportunism. Honest servants of the people must decide where they want to serve without uncontrollable desire to line up their pockets.