The SA Football Association’s (Safa) aggressive international relations strategy is starting to bear fruit as the association reaps the benefits of greater influence on the global stage.

Over the past 15 months, Safa President Danny Jordaan has undertaken close to 30 international trips as South Africa plays an influential role in Caf and Fifa engagements around the world and continues to strengthen its international profile.

During this period, Jordaan has attended various football seminars and strategic workshops in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

At the two most recent seminars, the Fifa Executive Summit in Muscat Oman, in February and the Women’s Symposium in Marrakesh, Morocco this week, Safa made notable contributions.

In Muscat the focus was on youth football development and women’s competitions, discussing innovative amendments to the World Cup for women, girls and boys.

At the Women’s Symposium in Marrakesh, delegates discussed various proposals to strengthen women’s football on the continent.

The Safa delegation, which included Ria Ledwaba and Anastasia Tsichlas, made various proposals on governance, technical and commercial matters.

Jordaan says, “South Africa is the only African country to have hosted a Fifa World Cup. This achievement gave us a prominent position in World Football and we have to maximise this prominence for the growth and development of South African football. Honouring our continental and international commitments as well as developing new relationships is an integral part of achieving global competitiveness for all of our national teams.”

In addition, the relationships that have formed during these international engagements are bearing fruit – two of these are the cooperation agreements which Sfa brokered with La Liga and KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association.

“A major focus of the La Liga partnership is a focus on grassroots and rural football development. This includes focus on schools football, as well as a coaching exchange programmes. A number of Spanish coaches have already conducted coaching clinics in Alexandra, Stellenbosch and other parts of our country. We have seen the direct benefit of this partnership in Bizana, Grahamstown, Kuruman, Meadowlands, Ladysmith and other disadvantaged areas,” says Jordaan