Picture : SowetanLive

Dear Mme Ria Ledwaba

Congratulations on being voted as one of the four vice presidents of SAFA and the first women to be elected in that position. It is duly noted that leading up to the SAFA congress you where visible and advocated on issues that besiege women’s football.

You made one of the most strongest statements on the 15th March after your attendance at the CAF women’s Symposium in Morocco. 

“The only way for us to advance women’s football in Africa is to ensure that as FA’s our mandates must focus on women’s football from every level.”

“As I have said I sincerely believe that our programmes must be focused towards schools where football programmes for girls must be made mandatory. This way we can ensure that our girls get the right development throughout their schooling and amateur levels until they become professionals.”

“We need to take women’s football on the continent seriously and put the same level of focus and strategy as we do in the men’s game. If we can do this we will make the women’s game attractive to investors,” noted Ledwaba. Courtesy of Soccer Laduma Online

You repeated the same thing on the 6th May 2018 at the Women’s Seminar hosted by the South African Football Coaches Association at Johannesburg Stadium, where you were a guest speaker.

The election and stature of your position of influence is a welcomed relief for so many disillusioned and destitute players and administrators, especially in provinces such as Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. You surely understand the plight of women footballers in South Africa. I sincerely hope that the pronouncements and engagements on women’s football issues were not electioneering on your part, seeing that you have been in the association for eons. We have yet to see a coherent PLAN of ACTION from SAFA on the National/ Professional League which is meant to kick off in eight months.

Here is a suggested 10 point plan of critical issues that need your immediate attention. Hopefully these can be fulfilled in the next 100 days.

  • Sasol League grants. They should be paid prior to the start of the season. They must be paid directly to the clubs and administered by the current agency appointed by SASOL.  The lack of administration efficiency at SAFA not only delays the distribution of the grants but also makes it hard for teams to function, as many are without sponsorship.
  • All LFA’s must submitt a strategic plan for the next 5 years on how the U13 & U15 League will be incorporated in their structures.
  • Set up development excellence centers in each province managed by the recently graduated provincial technical officers. The Tuks HPC has to be audited and be aligned with the recommended new centers.
  • The planned national league should be aligned with a commercial structure with a view of having a professional league that will be commercialised by that entity, which SHOULD be autonomous from SAFA.
  • The Vera Pauw legacy structure of the SASOL National Championships is detrimental to the playoffs. The structure of the playoffs needs to be changed with immediate effect. A suggestion of a better structure will be published on the next blog.
  • South Africa needs to play a pivotal role by introducing COSAFA tournamnet, then a CAF champions league for AFRICA, learn from EAST africa with the CECAFA Cup.
  • The SASOL League needs a geographical reform. Teams in other provinces travel up too 1000km, in a return trip, on away games. It is not practical considering that most of these teams are not sponsored, not forgetting the grants that don’t make it to clubs on time.
  • Develop a succession plan for coaches and key administrative staff at SAFA.  As one certain individual were to leave SAFA now, we would be in the deep sh…t, I mean trouble. The knowledge and global contacts she possesses are vital in taking women’s football forward in the future.
  • Set up central contracts for key NATIONAL PLAYERS, making reference to SA women’s cricket model.
  • Create a working group committee that will look at alignment of SASFA, USSA and national teams programs for women.

The president was recently quoted saying women’s football at Regional level has 810 women serving football and has seen an increase in participation from 212 000 to 456 000, now that is a stretch of one’s imagination or the LFA’s are submitting factious reports.

Let’s, please, get proper basics of administration, which is vital for any organization. There are plenty of Sports Management graduates available to assist across academia, I can happily forward the database.

Still on the president, as a woman, you need to take a stand on the rape allegations leveled against him, as the deafening silence from all the women in the leadership of the organisation is highly disconcerting. It is unfortunate that not much is coming from you on this issue, especially since you are a person who advocates the plight of women.

We hope this letter will be received in a positive aspect, wishing you all the best. We’re looking forward evaluating your initiatives in the next 100 days.

By the way, how much has been spent on women’s footbal from the 2010 FIFA LEGACY TRUST????