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South African Football Association

The South African Football Association or SAFA is the governing body of association football in South Africa.


The South African Football Association was founded on 8 December 1991, the culmination of a long unity process that was to rid the sport in South Africa of all its past racial division.

Four disparate units came together to form the organisation in Johannesburg to set South African soccer on the road to a return to international competition after a lifetime of apartheid in soccer.

They were the Football Association of South Africa, the South African Soccer Association, the South African Soccer Federation and the South African National Football Association, who later withdrew from the process only to return again two years later.
It was only natural that the game finally be united as the sport of soccer had long led the way into breaking the tight grip of racial oppression, written into South Africa’s laws by its successive apartheid governments.

A delegation of the SAFA received a standing ovation at the congress of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Dakar, Senegal a month later, where South Africa were accorded observer status. South Africa’s membership of the world governing body FIFA was confirmed at their congress in Zurich in June 1992.

Membership of CAF followed automatically and South Africa was back on the world stage, and we are honoured to be awarded the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Within a month the country hosted their first international match as World Cup quarterfinalists Cameroon came to play in three matches to celebrate the unity process. In September 1992, South Africa played its first junior international against Botswana at under-16 level in Lenasia and to date the country has entered a team in each of FIFA and CAF ‘s competitions, from under-17 to national team level, and also for the women’s team.

In the short space of six years, SAFA has achieved remarkable success with qualification for the World Cup finals in France in 1998, the title of African champions at the 1996 African Nations Cup finals, which the country hosted, and the runners-up berth in Burkina Faso two years later.
At under-20 level, South Africa were runners-up at the 1997 African championships in Morocco and qualified to play in the world under-20 championships in Malaysia.

At club level, Orlando Pirates won the prestigious African Champions Cup in 1995, the first club from the southern African region to take the title in more than 30 years of competition. Pirates were playing in the event for the first time and won the title away from home in the Ivory Coast to further amplify the magnificence of the victory.

Behind the scenes, SAFA has worked long and hard to provide the structures to take football to all levels of the South African community. There are now national age-group competitions from under-12 level up, qualified coaches working around the country and nine provincial affiliates, who are further divided into 52 regions.

A democratically-elected executive committee, headed by president Kirsten Nematandani
, oversees the running of a large staff operation.
Kirsten 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 to 1994 while Solomon Morewa served as executive president until his resignation in January 1997. Dr Molefe Oliphant was the third president serving from 1997 to 2009.

Former president Dr Molefe Oliphant serves on the technical committee of CAF while former CEO Danny Jordaan has been co-opted as an official for FIFA.

SAFA's biggest successes, however, have been the achievements of its national teams. Bafana Bafana, the Under-23 National Team and Banyana Banyana (Women's Senior National Team) have become dynamic social phenomena in the country, arguably the biggest social movement in the nation.

The country’s national team has won extraordinary support from the people and served to build bridges between communities.

South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Senior National Team became the first host nation to not qualify for the 2nd round in the tournament's history, after drawing with Mexico 1-1, losing to Uruguay by 3-0 and beating France 2-1 in their final match.

National Executive

- President: Kirsten Nematandani
- Vice-President: Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana
- Vice-President: Mandla 'Shoes' Mazibuko
- Vice-President: Dr Irvin Khoza
- Secretary General: Leslie Sidibe

National teams

- UNDER-12 (Tsetse-flies)

- UNDER-17 (Amajimbos)

- UNDER-20 (Amajita)

- UNDER-23 (Amaglug-glug)

- South Africa national football team

SAFA Regions

SAFA's 9 Provinces and 52 Regions
- SAFA Eastern Cape (Regions: Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Cacadu, Chris Hani, Nelson Mandela Bay, OR Tambo, Ukhahlamba)
- SAFA Free State (Regions: Fezile Dabi, Lejweleputswa, Motheo, Thabo Mofutsanyana, Xhariep)
- SAFA Gauteng (Regions: Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Metsweding, Sedibeng, Tshwane, West Rand)
- SAFA KwaZulu-Natal (Regions: Amajuba, Ethekwini, iLembe, Sisonke, Ugu, Umgungundlovu, Umkhanyakude, Umzinyathi, Uthukela, Uthungulu, Zululand)
- SAFA Mpumalanga (Regions: Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande, Nkangala)
- SAFA Northern Cape (Regions: Frances Baard, Kgalagadi, Namakwa, Pixley-Ka-Seme, Siyanda)
- SAFA Limpopo (Regions: Capricorn, Mopani, Sekhukhune, Vhembe, Waterberg)
- SAFA North-West (Regions: Bojanala, Bophirima, Central, Southern)
- SAFA Western Cape (Regions: Boland, Cape Town, Central Karoo, Eden, Overberg, West Coast)


- ABSA Premier League, the Premier Soccer League
- National First Division
- Vodacom Promotional League, the Second Division
- SAB Regional League
- SAFA Women's League, the Women's Division

Associate Members


Special Members

- National Soccer League (Premier Soccer League, National First Division)

Talk about Football in South Africa

You can discuss football in South Africa with other fans on the messageboard here.


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