CHILLIN’ WITH SAZI
I hope Banyana call Jordaan’s electioneering bluff and win Awcon
Safa president Danny Jordaan is so desperate to hang on to his job he’s offered R10m if Banyana Banyana win Awcon
It’s good to know that for a change, if promises are kept, football money will be going to the most important people in football — the players. I was overjoyed to hear this. Or maybe it’s too early to celebrate? Well, we’ll see.
SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan has committed the association to giving Banyana Banyana players a whooping R9.2m to share among themselves if they win the African Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon), which starts next week in Morocco.
If that sort of money is indeed paid to Banyana players, it will be a first for any SA national football team — not even Safa’s ever-flopping flagship team, Bafana Bafana, have seen that sort of cash.
But given our history and how we’ve treated Banyana and its players in the past, what Jordaan said will, at least in my case, only be believable when it actually happens.
What we mustn’t forget is the context in which this promise was made. Tuesday, the day Jordaan spoke about these incentive, was just four days before Safa’s elective congress where Jordaan is hoping to beat his deputy Ria Ledwaba and Solly Mohlabeng as he seeks a third term as a Safa boss.
We all know what lengths people will go to when they’re desperate to win an election. As with politicians, football administrators like Jordaan will say anything to ensure they hold on to their lofty positions.
We are going to pay R9.2m in bonuses for this team on the basis that they win the tournament. If you look at the other costs, our total investment in this team for this tournament will be R10m.Safa president Danny Jordaan
When the story came, it wasn’t made crystal clear where the money to pay Banyana players R10m, if they win the tournament, will come from.
Banyana do have Sasol as their main sponsor. But the sponsor’s silence on this matter, especially when we know Safa’s money struggles in recent years, leaves some of us and those opposing Jordaan with one conclusion — his promise may have just been electioneering.
Our experience of Safa is of an organisation led by people who care more about getting their executive bonuses for attending meetings than about putting their money where their mouths are — which is football development.
It was interesting to look at the breakdown and what Banyana, who’ve never won the Awcon despite contesting five finals, will get if they don’t win the trophy.
The players will get R30,000 for finishing fourth, R40,000 for finishing third, R55,000 for finishing second and a cool R400,000 each if they go all the way to be crowned African champions.
“We are going to pay R9.2m in bonuses for this team on the basis that they win the tournament. If you look at the other costs, our total investment in this team for this tournament will be R10m,” said Jordaan.
You’ll notice that there’s a gigantic jump from R55,000 if Banyana finish as runners-up to R400,000 if they win the tournament. This is the sort of bonus that would leave many CEOs scratching their heads and thinking where the hell they’ll find the money, if they were not part of the process of approving it.
If the promise did not come from someone like Jordaan, who’s desperate to hold on to his position, I’d probably believe it. If Safa has the money, why will Banyana not get half of R400,000 if they finish second? Your guess is as good as mine.
The other reason someone like Jordaan would make such a big promise is, of course, the votes he may swing his way ahead of the Safa polls on Saturday.
Make no mistake, Desiree Ellis’s team has made some strides, especially on the continent in recent years, but Nigeria remains by far the number one team in Africa, followed by Cameroon.
Banyana, who finished as runners-up to Nigeria in the last Awcon tournament in 2018 in Ghana, are ranked third in Africa and they still have a lot of catching up to do with the Super Falcons (Nigeria).
So when you look at that, and the election Jordaan is pushing hard to win on Saturday, you’ll understand why he made such a bold pronouncement. Deep down Jordaan knows Banyana are not a shoo-in to win gold in Morocco, but what he promised them would have done the trick as far winning the hearts of some of those casting their votes.
As a neutral in this saga, I hope that by some miracle Banyana find their mojo and win the tournament. I actually do want to see Banyana being awarded R400,000 per player and see where Jordaan finds the money.
Safa recently forced Bafana coach Hugo Broos to apologise for stating the obvious about the state of Bafana and SA football. I hope a bigger sanction will be directed at Jordaan if he fails to fulfil his promise.
One thing I will be willing to do is be among those shouting the loudest, more than the EFF does in parliament, if we’re told there’s no money to pay Banyana. I’ll not stop until we’re told by Banyana players that they finally have the money in their bank accounts.
As a country we’re desperate to see any of our national football teams crowned African champions. But in wanting to be champions, we shouldn’t think that promising players astronomical amounts of money will help us win tournaments.
What the likes of Jordaan should be doing is investing their energies and money in developing the players. When that is done properly, all sorts of sponsors will come with even better money than Jordaan has offered, and reward our deserving players.
Elections can make people do and say crazy things. And this R10m promise by Jordaan is probably one of them. The only consolation for me will be to see Banyana winning the tournament, making Jordaan fulfil his promise.
I wonder what will happen if Jordaan’s latest promise is just one of those numerous gimmicks he’s pulled in recent weeks in his attempt to win the Safa elections.
I sincerely hope that Banyana win the Awcon and put someone in a spot of bother, come the end of the tournament on July 23. Go Banyana go!