Vavi: SA must unearth soccer 'diamonds'

South Africa must capitalise on the national pride inspired by the 2010 Fifa World Cup to develop talent, said Zwelinzima Vavi. (M&G)

South Africa must capitalise on the national pride inspired by the 2010 Fifa World Cup to develop talent, said Zwelinzima Vavi. (M&G)

"[Since the 2010 Fifa World Cup], we have not come anywhere close to the goal of using soccer as one of the main instruments to unite our people and develop potential," the general secretary of Cosatu said on Friday.

"The reality in South Africa is that we are sitting on diamonds. We are happy to see them underground instead of unearthing them and putting them on the world map so that all South Africans can benefit from and enjoy their diamonds."

Vavi was speaking at the South African Football Players' Union national congress in Johannesburg.

He said soccer was the biggest sporting code in South Africa and the world. "It has the biggest potential to unite South Africans across all divisions," he said.

Vavi said the country saw its full potential to achieve this when it won the African Cup of Nations in 1996, and when it hosted the Fifa World Cup in 2010.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we think that South Africans could be so emotional about this country and its symbols," he said.

"At the time of the World Cup we said the whole world saw the best possible picture of South Africa."

Talent plan
He said the South African Football Association (Safa) had to wisely use all the money it received from Fifa after the World Cup on developing the sport.

"We are demanding that Safa and the minister of sports develop a clear one-year plan ... for the development of soccer and all other sporting codes in general," he said.

"The plan cannot exist in secret, in the offices of Safa. It must be debated with soccer players and the soccer-loving public."

Vavi said Safa also had to stop fighting its "endless" leadership battles. – Sapa

 

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