Boasting 13 years of experience as an administrator of top PSL side AmaZulu, Lunga Sokhela has grown to become one of the key football bureaucrats within South African football. The 36 year-old will be part of the WFS Africa gathering (“African Football Stakeholders” Round Table Discussion) in the two-day event (17-18 March 2020) at Durban’s ICC in KZN. He shares his excitement about the forthcoming historic Football Summit.
“Football also needs to change and adapt to the ever-changing times. Failure to embrace change will be the downfall of our powerful industry”
Q: What is your take on the WFS Africa coming to Durban?
A: I believe it is a brilliant initiative by all those involved. I was told that The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal is aiming to position the Province and City of Durban as the football capital of South Africa and this is part of that process. As the City of Ethekwini and Province of KZN, we have proven time and again that we can host successful major events. Ethekwini, South Africa’s playground, really knows how to “turn it on” when it comes to hosting big events. It makes me feel very excited to have an opportunity to rub shoulders with football industry leaders like the ones that will be congregating at the WFS Africa.
Q: As one of the speakers, what is your message to the audience?
A: The world is experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Core to this phenomenon is change in the way the world functions. Football also needs to change and adapt to the ever-changing times. Failure to embrace change will be the downfall of our powerful industry. It’s important that we aim to stay relevant in the world we live in today. We occupy a very powerful space in the lives of The Citizens of the world and I am confident this summit will be a timely space to share ideas and educate each other on how as football we can remain the biggest sport.
My message then in a nutshell, is let’s converse and challenge Africa and South Africa to enhance the sport of football and embrace the change that the world is going through.
“The business of football has increased drastically commercially mainly due to the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup”
Q: How can South African clubs capitalize on this summit?
A: South African football clubs have grown from just being a local product to a product consumed in over 35 African countries. By interacting with global industry leaders, we can extend this beyond the borders of Africa to the whole world. Clubs need to take this opportunity and unlock opportunities to borders outside of Africa to the world. This can be in many areas such as branding, player exchanges and information sharing.
Q: How has the business side of football changed in the past 10 years in South Africa and Africa in general?
A: The business of football has increased drastically commercially mainly due to the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Post hosting this event, South Africa has opened up to the whole world. It taught us to commercialise our product/s and make it more sellable into our marketplace.
“This great event also boosted the appeal we have to big South African and African Corporates. The FIFA World Cup repositioned football in its entirety”
Q: Can AmaZulu capitalize and see if they can have a relationship with some European clubs?
A: Most certainly, in fact we are interested in forming a relationship with a club plying its trade in LaLiga. This will expose the club to one of the top leagues in the world. It’s amazing the amount of progress LaLiga has achieved. It has overtaken many Leagues in quality of play and profitability. It’s a league that plays entertaining football similar to the African game. We certainly hope we can sign an MOU soon and begin some exchange programmes.
Q: What kind of Legacy will you like to see the WFS leave in South Africa and the continent as a whole?
A: It is critical that other African countries up the level of their leagues, similar to what Europe has done and South Africa to a large extent. The more competitive our leagues are, the better. We can then keep talent in Africa and this will up the standard of football in general.