The South African Football Association was founded on 8 December, 1991, the culmination of a long unity process that was to rid the sport in South Africa of all its past racial division.
Four disparate units came together to form the organisation in Johannesburg to set South African soccer on the road to a return to international competition after a lifetime of apartheid in soccer.
They were the Football Association of South Africa, the South African Soccer Association, the South African Soccer Federation and the South African National Football Association, who later withdrew from the process only to return again two years later.
It was only natural that the game finally be united as the sport of soccer had long led the way into breaking the tight grip of racial oppression, written into South Africas laws by its successive apartheid governments.
A delegation of the SAFA received a standing ovation at the congress of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Dakar, Senegal a month later, where the South Africa were accorded observer status. South Africas membership of the world governing body FIFA was confirmed at their congress in Zurich in June, 1992.
Membership of CAF followed automatically and South Africa were back on the world stage.
Within a month the country hosted their first international match as World Cup quarterfinalists Cameroon came to play in three matches to celebrate the unity process. In September, 1992, South Africa played its first junior international against Botswana at under-16 level in Lenasia and to date the country has entered a team in each of FIFA and CAFs competitions, from under-17 to national team level, and also for the womens team.
In the short space of six years, SAFA has achieved remarkable success with qualification for the World Cup finals in France in 1998, the title of African champions at the 1996 African Nations Cup finals, which the country hosted, and the runners-up berth in Burkina Faso two years later.
At under-20 level, South Africa were runners-up at the 1997 African championships in Morocco and qualified to play in the world under-20 championships in Malaysia.
At club level, Orlando Pirates won the prestigious African Champions Cup in 1995, the first club from the southern African region to take the title in more than 30 years of competition. Pirates were playing in the event for the first time and won the title away from home in the Ivory Coast to further amplify the magnificence of the victory.
Behind the scenes, SAFA has worked long and hard to provide the structures to take football to all levels of the South African community. There are now national age-group competitions from under-12 level up, qualified coaches working around the country and nine provincial affiliates, who are further divided into 25 regions.
A democratically-elected executive 21-person committee, headed by president Molefi Oliphant, oversees the running of a large staff operation.
Oliphant is the third president of SAFA since its formation. Mluleki George, served as the interim Chairman for the first year (1991-1992) of the existence of the Association. Professor Lesole Gadinabokao was the first president, serving from 1992 to 1994 while Solomon Morewa served as executive president until his resignation in January 1997.
Oliphant also serves on the technical committee of CAF while CEO Danny Jordaan has been co-opted as an official for FIFA, notably at the world under-20 championship sin Malaysia in 1997.
SAFA’s biggest successes, however, have been the achievements of its national teams. Bafana Bafana, the Under-23 National Team and Banyana Banyana (Women’s Senior National Team) have become dynamic social phenomena in the country, arguably the biggest social movement in the nation.
The countrys national team has won extraordinary support from the people and served to build bridges between communities.