Lydia Monyepao has a tough act to follow

The potpourri of events that unfolded at the South African Football Association (Safa) in the past week have left the organisation naked and in a state of anguish. The Safa House inhabitants faced one of the most difficult weeks, which they will want to forget quickly.

It started last Friday with a bolt out of the blue that was unleashed by CEO Tebogo Motlanthe, who tendered his resignation letter, sending Safa president Danny Jordaan and national executive committee (NEC) members into a state of panic and desperation.

Motlanthe’s letter was leaked to the media and that wreaked further havoc and revealed the kind of difficulties that staff members are facing. It included titbits like spy cameras in the offices and having to lay off almost 50% of staff members.

As if it was not enough, former Safa CEO Dennis Mumble went on Metro FM and aired the national association’s dirty laundry. Mumble had done his homework and laid it all bare, criticising Jordaan and the association.

Anonymous staff members are also complaining about the never-ceasing retrenchments that Motlanthe was allegedly tasked to oversee. The uncertainty and a lack of job security have affected the morale of staff members, who are concerned about losing their jobs. They are asking questions as to why Safa has such a bloated NEC structure and regions. They are asking where the wisdom is in taking 300 members, flying them from various destinations to the ordinary congress at the five-star Peermont Hotel at Emperors Palace for three days, expenses fully paid by the association when such finances could be used for staff retention.

The Safa technical director Walter Steenbok was also vocal about making it compulsory for PSL coaches to have CAF A Licences in the future. But the PSL coaches and club bosses are complaining that Safa is not rolling out those courses.

Hence a former player like Mpho Maleka has had to go to Zambia to empower himself with a CAF B Licence. Steenbok had Motlanthe riding shotgun, but he will now have to lead the onslaught all alone.

The SA Under-17 side, affectionately known as Amajimbos, were mutilated by Senegal 5-0, which resulted in them getting knocked out of the CAF 2023 Under-17 Afcon. This means that the youngsters will not participate in the Fifa Under-17 World Cup that will be held in Peru later this year.

This is a further blow for the association’s “re-evaluated” Vision 2030 because the SA Under-23 will miss out on the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Amajita, the SA Under-20 side, also failed to qualify for the recently-concluded Under-20 Afcon in Egypt.

This is a cause for concern for the Safa bosses to turn things around. The newly-appointed CEO Lydia Monyepao has a lot on her desk and she will have to hit the ground running.

She will also have to negotiate and manoeuvre the politics and the minefield of the male-dominated football industry. But we have trust in her, the former Banyana Banyana star is a tough cookie and she has all the qualifications and the football experience required to grab the bull by the horns.

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