No end in sight to turf war as tension between SASFA and SAFA continues to simmer

13 July 2017 - 10:50 By Marc Strydom
A file photo of Niel Lazarus (far left) former SAFA President Kirstern Nematandani (second from left) Danny Jordan, Mandla Mazibuko and Vivian Cassaletti during the SAFA press conference at the SAFA house.
A file photo of Niel Lazarus (far left) former SAFA President Kirstern Nematandani (second from left) Danny Jordan, Mandla Mazibuko and Vivian Cassaletti during the SAFA press conference at the SAFA house.
Image: Gallo Images

The South African Schools Football Association will enter into dialogue over a unified schools’ football body only if Safa drop a current High Court appeal‚ Sasfa president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko has said.

Sasfa called a press conference on the East Rand this week in response to the SA Football Association (Safa) on Friday announcing a Schools Football Interim Committee tasked with establishing a united schools football ruling body.

Mazibuko said the new committee represented a “parallel” schools’ body to Sasfa.

Sasfa’s conference appeared to be called at least partly as a show of unity from the remaining members of their executive‚ after three – suspended general secretary Steve Phila‚ Dickson Moleka and Innocent Sirovha – joined Safa’s committee.

“I can assure you definitely – this is not a memorial service‚” Mazibuko joked‚ in response to press speculation that the ‘defections’ might signal the beginning of the end for Sasfa.

Sasfa have been at loggerheads with Safa since football’s governing body passed a resolution in March 2015 to dissolve the schools body in March 2015‚ by August 2016.

Sasfa won a High Court bid to overturn the resolution‚ which is under appeal by Safa.

Safa‚ at the launch of their new schools’ committee on Friday‚ invited Sasfa to start dialogue on becoming integrated within a body within the national association.

Sasfa are an associate member of Safa‚ and have resisted becoming an affiliate.

Mazibuko said Sasfa could not enter into dialogue while there was a dispute at court.

“If Safa want to talk we are open to that. But Safa cannot got to court on one side‚ and hoping that if they lose we’ll talk‚” Mazibuko said.

He later added: “I’m a former vice president of Safa. I have the number of the president of Safa (Danny Jordaan)‚ he has my number. What’s stopping him from calling president to president?

“Why are they doing it behind the scenes? They know Steve Phila is suspended. Why do they talk to a suspended member?

“This is not good for football‚ it’s not good for development. We don’t want this mud-slinging.

“Tomorrow‚ let Safa withdraw their court case‚ and we will be with them at the table.”

Phila‚ the spokesman for Safa’s new schools’ committee‚ said it would still try engage Sasfa on joining a new unified structure.

“We are going ahead with the two departments (Sport and Recreation and Basic Education) and Safa to form a united schools’ football association‚” he said.

“We are hopeful of doing a presentation to Sasfa soon. When they have seen it and the grand plan‚ they will certainly be in.

“Safa have not set up a parallel body. It has set up a consultative body that will approach various structures to say that‚ ‘This is the grand idea. Please come and join it’.”

Phila’s response to Mazibuko’s position that Sasfa would consider entering into dialogue if Safa dropped the High Court appeal was: “We are saying we are going to talk to Sasfa.

"Invariably‚ if we agree‚ and they say‚ ‘Yes‚ we agree we are forming one‚ unitary body’‚ the court case would be academic.

“Sasfa can listen to what we have to say while the case is there‚ as a means to resolving this.”

Safa have stated their dissatisfaction with the percentage of schools playing football in SA as the given reason for the body wanting to take over running of the sport at that level.

- TimesLIVE

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