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Monyepao Praises SAFA For Empowering Women

By Lethabo Kganyago (@ngwanamogoto)

Former Banyana Banyana player Lydia Monyepao has praised SAFA for empowering women and giving ex-players leadership roles after her appointment as new South African Football Association Chief Operations Officer last week. 

She says she has had some time to reflect and sees the task that lies ahead of her when she formally starts with her duties next month. Monyepao knows the job is big and she is up to it. Monyepao explained that some of her duties will include being charge of the HR portfolio, compliance issues with stakeholders and women’s football.

“You know that SAFA has gone through a phase where they are rebuilding because a lot of people took packages and they will be bringing in new staff. So I will be entrusted with looking after the HR aspect,” Monyepao told iDiski Times

“There are other things such a stakeholder relations it will be my department as well, ensuring that we are in line with what is required and compliance will be key as well, compliance to agreements, compliance to the SAFA policies and procedures, the CAF policies and procedures, FIFA and even COSAFA as well.

“Another thing is the women’s football because currently we don’t have anyone who is there, there are other people but there is no one who is really in charge of women’s football. You know ever since Fran (Hilton Smith) left there hasn’t been that person who has been steering the women’s football in that direction although we can see there are things happening which is a really good thing because the CEO and others have been working really hard to make sure we capitalise in that section but I will have to take charge of the women’s football above other things.”

The former Banyana Banyana captain and team manager admits this was a big transformation move by the Football Association to hire a black woman in a leadership role.

Not only that but the fact that she is a former player is key seeing how there has always been an outcry to bring in former players in leadership roles at SAFA.

“People have always talked about the need to bring in former players into the Association in leadership roles or in other roles so I think it was a plus the fact that I’m a black woman in this day and age especially considering where South Africa is going in terms of empowering women in general and especially black women who are so much marginalised especially in Corporate South Africa so this is something that is key,” she added.

“If you look at Member Associations on the African continent, SAFA is actually leading in terms of trying to empower women even in the NEC the Vice President and other women. Honestly it was something they needed to be doing in senior management level in the Association and I think this is a step in the right direction.”

The COO also understands that it will also be her responsibility to make sure there are more women are empowered and included in the association’s running. 

The former Deputy Director for Professional Services at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) hopes her appointment will also be an inspiration to former players to show they can also rise to the position she has achieved so far with education as well. Monyepao was in the running for the CEO position last year where she eventually lost to the incumbent CEO Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe. She admits not winning the top seat was a little disappointing but realised Motlanthe was the right man for the job but also a blessing in disguise.

“When I sat down and reflected on it I realised perhaps the time wasn’t correct for me to become the CEO of SAFA. If I look at Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe he had acted in the position, he knew the dealings of South African football so he knew a lot more than I did because I left South African football seven years ago and a lot of things had changed and people had moved on. I felt that he had the connections the networks of football already so I was going to have to start from scratch. I felt me not getting the position was a blessing in disguise because now I’m coming in as COO I have a platform to learn so much more that I didn’t even know when I was outside the system. I can get to learn from Tebogo and create my own networks I have time. Yes I was a little bit disappointed I won’t lie because one expects success whenever you apply for a position,” concluded Monyepao.

Monyepao signed a five year deal and she says she is content with where she is right now and has no regrets.