Neil Tovey during the launch of the eighth U17 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto. Picture: SOWETAN/VELI NHLAPO.
Neil Tovey during the launch of the eighth U17 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto. Picture: SOWETAN/VELI NHLAPO.

Neil Tovey will not renew his contract as technical director of the SA Football Association (Safa) at the end of June, the association has confirmed.

However‚ the official reason given for Tovey not renewing his contract differs from information from various sources who did not want to be named.

Sources told Business Day that Tovey’s exit comes because he feels he will be unable to conduct his role of overseeing development effectively due to a lack of financial support from the cash-strapped association.

Safa communications director Dominic Chimhavi confirmed Tovey will not renew his contract but denied it was because of financial constraints.

“Neil’s contract came to an end. That is the issue‚” said Chimhavi, who later added: “The main reason actually why Neil Tovey’s contract was not renewed was the fact that he has gone through huge health issues. He had two scares during his tenure and it was one of the considerations.”

Tovey‚ appointed as Safa’s technical director in June 2015‚ suffered three heart attacks in February 2015 and another heart attack in October 2016.

A big reason for Tovey not wanting to renew his contract‚ it is believed, is that the former Bafana Bafana captain does not believe he will have the financial backing to conduct his job of overseeing development effectively. Tovey was apparently also dissatisfied with the package he was offered.

A big reason for Tovey’s conviction that he will not have financial support for his plans is apparently the removal of Safa’s 18 provincial technical officers (PTO) as a cost-cutting measure by Safa.

A male and female PTO had been put in place by Tovey in all SA’s nine provinces, primarily to oversee coaching of coaches and that all the junior leagues in Safa’s Local Football Associations — many of whom were set up by funds from the 2010 World Cup Legacy Trust — ran smoothly.

Cripple structures

They were well-paid‚ qualified coaches and coaching instructors who had left jobs to join Safa.

Four separate sources‚ who did not want to be named‚ said they fear the removal of the PTOs will cripple the association’s development structures.

A source said a new organigram that has been given to Safa staff members‚ with packages being offered to some staff‚ cuts development employees and Tovey’s staff significantly.

“The cost-cutting’s going to cripple the association’s development‚” a source said.

Chimhavi denied that the 18 PTOs have been cut.

“The issue of the PTOs has nothing to do with this issue [of Tovey’s contract]. We are actually attending to that issue of the PTOs‚” Chimhavi said.

“It’s also that their contracts came to an end‚ and we are renegotiating their contracts.” The new acting CEO, Tebogo Motlanthe, “is attending to that to see how we can solve that issue. They were not fired.”

The news that Tovey will leave his post next week follows the axing by Safa of two of its vice-presidents — Ria Ledwaba and Gay Mokoena — in a national executive committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend.

This follows a tumultuous period in which two startling reports sent to the NEC by a former CEO‚ Dennis Mumble‚ and Mokoena (a former acting CEO) rocked the association with allegations of abuse of office by Safa president Danny Jordaan.

Tovey‚ who coached Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu‚ was the Bafana captain who lifted the Africa Cup of Nations trophy on home soil in 1996.