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EFA LEADS BY EXAMPLE!

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My dearest readers... Before I am accused of applauding a cat for meowing, let me state from the onset that anything positive coming from our football deserves a special mention.

We have been engrossed with negative vibes in the corridors of power in football in recent times as mudslinging, accusations and counter-accusations, lies, deceit took centre-stage as the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) elective conference in August got nearer and nearer. It has been hard, even for some of us, to tell fact from fiction; friends from foes; lies from the truth; wishful thinking from reality.

When people, especially football administrators have diverse interests on issues, they can sell ice to an Eskimo; fire in hell and an egg to a hen as long as they get to lay their hands on the levers of power.


It’s election time in the commercial wing of our football and next year, the big one when the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) goes to the polls in June.
Be that as it might be, something happened over the weekend in our football that deserves to be applauded. Something positive that needs to be encouraged in the midst of the bickering and backbiting that has come to characterise our football leadership. Maybe one is praising a fish for swimming here but this State-of-Nation-Sports-Address (SONSA) believes in giving credit where it’s due. That’s why I always tell my friends in our rendevous weekends – during those times when it was still possible to socialise – that to attack a columnist of not being objective is a bit like attacking an Olympic sprinter for running too fast.


Essential


As most avid readers of this column, can attest, the judicious use of crudity is an essential part of a columnist’s arsenal and while I deploy it rarely, I don’t flinch when the time is right. Right here, I recently told a paper-tiger coach who dared to accuse me of taking payola to go to hell in such a way he looked forward to the trip.  


Needless to overemphasise that, indeed, SONSA, is not about to give up on its proud tradition of bold reporting and laying out the truth in its most naked form. I owe this to the more than 100 000 people whose weekly diet this column is. Dare I say, I respect my readers and I want them to believe every single word they read on this Tuesday conversation called Lwazi’s Pandora’s Box.


That’s why today, without fear of contradiction, I want to applaud the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) for not only holding a successful General Assembly but for leading the way in accountability and professionalism.


Going through the financial statements of the EFA each and every expenditure was explained down to the tee.
The documents to be presented to the delegates were clear and straight to the point even though one delegate did acknowledge the wording was too ‘heavy’ and required constant reference to the dictionary. Gagagagaga.

The power-point presentation by the EFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngometulu made it easier to follow the proceedings and it gave an indication of the direction the organisation was taking especially on its infrastructural components, which deserves to be applauded.


Praise


The revenue made by the EFA on their FIFA Goal Projects is commendable (The EFA made E391 704 in rentals in the year ending 31 December 2019) and as they go for the next project at Mkhuzweni, there is no doubt, FIFA’s money is being put to good use. Special praise too, should go to government through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, for allowing the EFA to hold its Ordinary General Assembly in this COVID-19 pandemic era, allowing 70 people to be part of the gathering.


Thanks, Mr Minister Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga for granting the EFA this special permission which I must say they professionally adhered to, during the meeting. This cannot be taken lightly. It certainly showed government’s commitment in seeing the sport develop because Sunday’s meeting was very important on all aspects given that we have an elective conference in June, 2021.


Lest we forget, the EFA, to their credit, is one of the few associations in Africa that have been praised by FIFA for exhibiting professionalism and accountability. Some countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique are in a ‘special paragraph’ with FIFA after their financial conduct and we are not.


That’s a vote of confidence on the part of the Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa leadership. For all their other numerous administrative faults, you cannot fault them on that one. They deserve all the accolades. You have to look at nearby, South Africa where SA soccer is SAFA-rring under Danny Jordaan, where last week’s National Executive Committee meeting saw two vice presidents, Ria Ledwaba and Gay Mokoena, being axed.


The centre cannot hold at SAFA as Jordaan has been accused of running the association like his own fiefdom. Thank God, we are not dealing with such issues here in Eswatini as the success of Sunday’s General Assembly demonstrated an organisation that is professional run and stable.


Foundation


Yes, there are still a lot of issues that needs to be tackled, a lot of grounds that needs to be covered but certainly the experience of those in leadership ensures the foundation is as hard as a rock. Now it is time to move the organisation to the next level in terms of its vision and objectives.
It’s not hunky-dory but events of the past weekend gave us hope for the future. The mere fact that the organisation was even able to post an operational surplus of close to E3 million (E2 901 981) inspite of government’s over E1.2 million allocation shortfall (government forked out E3.8 million instead of the budgeted E5 million) is commendable even though it can also be attributed to the millions of Emalangeni FIFA is throwing our way.

Nevertheless, the accountability with the FIFA funds is one thing that must be applauded from Bomber Mthethwa’s leadership and now, they need to go to the next level.
Thanks EFA for leading by example in this regard even if I do sound, to a certain extent, like I am applauding a cat for meowing!
Phew!

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