Nation included in Bafana name change

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Johannesburg - Football loving South Africans will have their say in the name change process of the national team, Bafana Bafana, the South African Football Association (Safa) announced on Wednesday. 

The association has already set up a three-man committee to drive the national team's name change process comprising Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, Safa's chairman of referees Alpha Mchunu and Former Local Organising Committee boss Dr Danny Jordaan.

"The name change is a very serious debate and we will engage the general public in this process because we believe that the national team's name should be embraced by all our people," said Jordan. 

The committee will make their recommendations to their national executive committee, once the consultation process was completed. 

The association leadership addressed the media during their 20th anniversary celebrations at their headquarters in Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Bafana Bafana means "the boys, the boys" in IsiZulu and Safa has been embroiled in legal battle with businessman Stanton Woodrush, who owns the Bafana Bafana trademark. 

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said the name change process must be considered, even if it turns out to be a long and intricate process. 

"Name change is a debate worth looking at... We are well-respected in the African continent, we are climbing the FIFA World rankings and I wonder if we still need that name [Bafana Bafana]," he said. 

Sending his 20th anniversary message to Safa, Mbalula said: "Football is back on track ... and there is a lot to celebrate as an association and a country.

"In a short space of time, we have achieved what others have not. It is interesting to note also that internationally, we are regrouping and should be back to where we belong, which is amongst the best in the world. For all of that, we need to be proud of ourselves and our achievements.

"I believe that the years ahead will be even greater, so let us make South African Football work. Let us promote good governance in the sport and let us take the game to greater heights."

Nematandani said what lies behind for SA football is nothing compared to what lies ahead. "This celebration is the continuation of our aspiration to return to the heights we once enjoyed. 

"We want to ensure that the whole country is part of the celebrations whenever there is a Safa event, and part of that will be to honour those who have travelled the road before us, who handed the baton to us," he said.

Safa, which was established in 1991, is a product of the transformative amalgamation of the various football governing bodies that existed in South Africa.

The association was admitted into the international fold in June 1992 by the world governing body FIFA. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) followed automatically and the association was back on the world stage. 

The first international match was played against Cameroon and the first goal was scored by Doctor Khumalo.

Nematandani is the fourth president of Safa since its formation. Mluleki George served as the interim chairman for the first year (1991-1992) of the existence of the association. 

Professor Lesole Gadinabokao was the first president serving from 1992 until 1994, when Solomon "Stix" Morewa took over as executive president until his resignation in 1997. 

Morewa was succeeded by Dr Molefe Oliphant as the third president from 1997 until 2009.