SAFA concerned about transport for amateur teams

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The South African Football Association (SAFA) is to engage with transport stakeholders to find a way of improving the manner in which amateur soccer teams get to their matches.

These soccer teams often cannot afford social team buses and rely on unsafe modes of transport, such as trucks and bakkies.

This comes after five players of a Limpopo amateur soccer team, Burgersdorp Shining Stars, died in a tragic accident outside Burgersdorp town on their way to play a league match at Mafaranani village in the Greater Tzaneen area.

"As a caring organisation we should start asking serious questions about the mode of transport that is used by clubs at amateur level.

"We admit that accidents do happen, and we need to learn something from such a difficult experience, grassroots football is seriously under resourced, hence we see many of our teams traveling in vans and bakkies to honour their fixtures," SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani said.

As a way forward, Nematandani said the association will engage transport stakeholders such as the taxi associations and bus companies to work out a transport plan that will be incorporated in the country's football development plan.

"This is the best we can do in memory of all the players we lost in similar circumstances," he said.

Nematandani, who also conveyed his message of condolences to the bereaved families, club and the region, said it was tragic to loose dedicated players who were still reaching out for their dreams of playing professional football.

The SAFA President wished the injured players a speedy recovery.

According to the association, the five players were Nonkie Maluleke; Tebogo Ramoshaba, Siphiwe Shamango, Xtlhelana Masilo and Dennis Mashele. 22 other players were admitted at Letaba, Dr CN Phatudi and Sekororo hospitals.

Members of the SAFA national executive committee have since visited families of the deceased, as well as the injured players at the hospitals.

While funeral arrangements were being finalised, SAFA has moved swiftly to open a relief account in a bid to assist the affected families.

The account details are follows: SAFA Limpopo Regional Relief Fund First National Bank (FNB) Account Number: 622 419 54719 Branch Code: 260148.