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Monday, 25 April 2016 18:04

Soccer: Minister of Sport Slams SAFA

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was on the rampage today as he banned SA Rugby, Cricket South Africa and Athletics SA from bidding for international tournaments due to lack of transformation. School football was also under the spotlight.

Mbalula rounded in on the South African Football Association (SAFA) for failing to get soccer played in more schools and especially private schools.

The Minister of Sport said he “has issued a Ministerial directive to SAFA due to its poor drive to penetrate and roll out football in the former Model C and private schools.”

It is clear that football would greatly benefit from the involvement of the Model C and private schools. They already have the facilities and amenities to develop the sport and it makes sense that SAFA should be tapping into these already established resources.

However this does raises some interesting questions. Does the Minister then believe that SAFA have done well in driving football in rural areas and in the townships of South Africa or is it only the ‘former Model C and private schools’ which they have neglected? It is very apparent that organised football in rural schools is vertically obsolete in many schools, with some not even having a football pitch to play on in their area.

Does this mean that SA Rugby and Cricket SA have done a good job in getting their sporting codes played in the schools across the country? The ever expanding Craven Week is a clear indication that rugby in particular is enjoying massive support in the schools across the country. This website in particular has been inundated with requests from rural and township schools to be included in the Rugby Rankings.

Why is SA Rugby not getting credit for the work it does to get their sport played by as many school players as possible across the board?

It is clear that the transition from schoolboy rugby player to the professional ranks is fraught with a host of perils and there is no guarantee that a player with promise at school level will enjoy stardom in the professional arena. If SA Rugby is fulfilling its mandate to develop rugby at the school level should they be penalised that this is not translating into more representation in the pro ranks?

Either way one has to wonder who is ultimately responsible for sport being played at schools? Should it not be the same people who are responsible for the education at school? Many would answer by admitting that it is the government’s responsibility to provide facilities and a good functioning education system where children are exposed to sport.

What is your viewpoint on this issue?