The Eswatini Football Association has implemented the first Ordinary General Assembly (OGA) under the leadership of President Peter Simelane. This event was implemented at the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini. In his address the EFA President highlighted about the football business for the past year which is also the initial year for the current EFA Executive Committee.
It was a challenging year for football for the previous football season due to the existence of Covid-19 pandemic. “It is common knowledge that most of our business, most importantly our beloved football competitions at the regions stopped since 2020 even the only executed competitions at the national level, were first without fans and later on restricted numbers, something which severely comprised the economic and livelihood of the clubs and the general practitioners of the game” Simelane said.
Under his leadership, EFA and as a way of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, implemented the Covid-19 Vaccination Vigour. “Delegates, we pride ourselves for having been amongst the first few and very decisive organizations in the country to launch the vaccination drive to create immunity against the coronavirus in our society”. Simelane highlighted. This drive persuaded government and the pertinent authorities to allow fans back into our football stadia to watch matches and by extension the return of football at the regional levels.
Also, in his first term of office, the EFA launched the partnership and national team replicas. “One of the most significant commercial business made, was the launch of the Umbro three-year technical partnership and replicas for the national team”, Simelane said. The launch of the replicas sought to ensure that the supporters and football consumers have a similar identity with the national team. The President highlighted that even though this was a successful business initiative, this was adversely affected by the hosting of the national team matches of foreign soil.
In terms of infrastructure development, the EFA President encouraged the regional associations to maximise the business opportunities by the regional associations who have the technical centres. “I encourage the regional associations who already have facilities, to create and assimilate the commercial opportunities that have been presented, through these facilities”, Simelane said.
As an effort of empowering football personnel, EFA continued to educate and train football personnel. “We have witnessed the very first graduation of two women in the Women in Leadership Programme as we seek to empower women folk to discharge their leadership responsibilities proficiently”, Simelane highlighted. The EFA President promised that such empowerment will continue in the coming year of the EFA calendar. Also, the EFA President highlighted the transformation of refereeing in the country. “Of a significant highlight is the growth of our refereeing, where we have witnessed leading referee, Letticia Viana, officiating at the third consecutive Women Africa Cup of Nations. She has since got a historic appointment to officiate in the VAR section of the FIFA U17 Women World Cup.
On the fiscal ecology of the EFA, the President highlighted that EFA is counted and continue to pride herself on that aspect. “EFA is counted and continues to pride herself, in that it has realized an unqualified audit opinion, being a sparkling audit, for the 2021 independent audit”, Simelane said. The organisation is also confident that it will pass the FIFA Central Review Audit which is currently ongoing. As a way of ensuring the practice of good corporate governance in football, EFA will continue empowering her members on that aspect. “Of significant note, is that we will try to continue to improve our good financial standing, as we have done recently to assure the compliance of our members with audit requirements through the establishment of financial templates for our member associations through which financial applications and reports for grants funding will be made forward”, Simelane stated.
With the EFA strategic plan having elapsed, the EFA President has called all members to commit themselves in as far as the crafting of a new one is concerned. “I therefore call members to commit to this crucial exercise of mapping our prospective football business for the next four years”, the EFA President said. He also called upon the EFA members to look into the forthcoming year and future of football as there is a need collaborate in order to create and recreate strategies that will evolve with the dynamic needs of the game of football.