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SAFA ‘look deep’

National soccer governing body SAFA are attempting to find reasons for the sad state of affairs surrounding the various failure of it’s sides to make any impression on the continental and global stage.

Only the national women’s side has managed to achieve anything of note, qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in London.

The men’s Under-23 side failed to make the grade for the Games, the national senior side botched their chance of being at the Africa Cup of Nations next year and the Under-20 side couldn’t get past the first round of the current Cosafa Youth Championships.

Following a growing groundswell of unhappiness, SAFA have now released a statement in which they claim they will address the various issues.

“After the very disappointing series of events involving some of our national teams in the recent past, we have decided to look deep into the reasons for this malaise in which we find ourselves by posing some tough questions and resolving to do things much differently from the manner in which we have conducted ourselves,” was the introduction to the statement.

“We agree with our disappointed nation that it is no longer good enough to just qualify for major tournaments as we have done with the All-Africa Games and the African Under-23 Championship. It is imperative for us to progress to the later rounds of these important competitions.

“The failure by our national teams to progress in major tournaments has left the nation disappointed and disillusioned. It is therefore time that we perform a serious introspection and activate practical, achievable programmes to take our game forward.

ÔÇ£We have previously expressed our regret at the failure by our Senior National Team, Bafana Bafana, to qualify for the finals of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Our Under-23 National Team might have reached the last eight knockout stage but also failed in their quest to reach the London Olympics next yearÔÇØ said SAFA CEO Dr Robin Petersen.

“The two were recently joined by the Under-20 National Team which was knocked out in the first round of the ongoing Cosafa Youth Championship.

ÔÇ£We fully understand the disillusionment of soccer lovers. That is why we are reevaluating the way we perform our functions in order to find a way forward. We have identified various practical interventions which we must intensify and accelerate through our various local football associations and at regional levelÔÇØ said SAFA President Kirsten Nemtandani.

Part of these interventions include:
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á A high-level Technical Symposium which will bring together all football stakeholders. The intention of this symposium is to find solutions to some of our technical problems, looking into players’ long term injuries and getting an update on modern trends in football development;
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á We have drawn up a comprehensive programme for our national teams for the coming year and Bafana Bafana are scheduled to play four international matches against high-class opponents in the month of January;
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á SAFA has invested R3 million into 34 upcoming young coaches who completed the Level Three coaching course and intends to inject the same amount for 30 more coaches early next year;
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á SAFA has invested heavily in grassroots football and activated a new framework for the operation of football academies throughout the country to improve the standard of play;
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á This week, we completed a historic referees programme in which we have run all three courses that make up Project Phoenix. The SAFA Referees Department has never run three courses at the higher national level concurrently. This bodes well for the development of referees at the SAFA Promotional League level;
ÔÇó┬á┬á┬á We have also commenced with the rewriting of our coaching manuals to align these with the CAF and UEFA standards and this project will be completed in June 2012.”

Only time will tell whether this latest meeting addresses the malaise that our soccer currently finds itself in.


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