Newly-appointed Safa CEO to ensure national teams qualify for Afcon, World Cup

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Newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of the South African Football Association (Safa), Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe says his focus will be to develop a world class administration for the association.

Motlanthe has been appointed as Safa CEO on a permanent basis having been acting in the position since last year.

Motlanthe’s five-year contract comes into effect on Friday. He says since he was acting in this position, he has hit the ground running.

“The first thing is to finalise and ensure that we have a team which we will work with and rely on to ensure that we achieve what the NEC has mandated us administratively while we develop a world-class admin as far as the national teams are concerned. Of course, there are two teams which are active, currently. We need to ensure that we support our men’s senior team and ensure that they qualify for Afcon and we also prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.”

The 39-year-old Motlanthe becomes the youngest ever CEO of Safa since the establishment of the country’s football controlling body in 1991.

It has taken Safa a little more time than expected, but the association delivered on its promise to have a permanent chief executive before the end of this month.

The football controlling body has been struggling to find a full-time chief executive since 2018 when Dennis Mumble vacated the position.

Since then, three individuals have served in the position in an acting capacity. Motlanthe made the shortlist of five candidates before it was reduced to three in December.

He was pitted against two strong candidates for the position. The other two candidates who made the final list of three are former Banyana Banyana player Lydia Monyepao, and football marketing guru, Happy Ntshingila.

Safa president, Danny Jordaan, says the executive needed to finalise the appointment process.

“I’m happy to announce this morning that the NEC decided on a unanimous basis and we had 90% on the NEC members present including members from the PSL  who also serve on the executive and it was a unanimous decision that Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe be appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Safa for a period of five years commencing today.”

Meanwhile, Safa has given professional football the green light to continue in the country under very strict conditions. All football-related activities were suspended in March last year for several months after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Professional football was allowed to make a return last August. But Safa’s Doctor Thulani Ngwenya says amateur football has been banned and will not be allowed to continue during the second wave of COVID-19 in South Africa.

“With professional football, there are contracts and sponsorships, obligations. So, we had to put a balance. Then that’s what we submitted to NEC to say can we then stop the non-professional football and we will then continue and monitor professional football and non-professional football. We will monitor the situation in our country from month to month and we will advise the CEO. The CEO will then advise the leadership of Safa”

However, according to Safa’s Chief Medical Officer, all international matches will continue as scheduled.

Bafana Bafana will resume their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign by hosting Ghana in March, before playing Sudan in an away fixture a few days later.

South Africa’s senior men’s team will start its World Cup qualifiers in October after the initial date was shifted from June due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.