Madibaz Football Club chairman and Mandela University administration stalwart Francis Makonese has been appointed deputy executive director of Cosafa.
The Council of Southern African Football Associations, which consists of 14 nations, is the governing body for a range of competitions from junior to senior level. Its flagship event is the Cosafa Cup.
The 35-year-old, who managed mentoring programmes and helped map out the club’s strategic plan for the next seven years, has been an integral part of Madibaz Football.
On Monday, he took on the new challenge with the regional body in Johannesburg where the ultimate goal is to develop the game at all levels in Southern Africa.
Makonese said the Cosafa appointment was “a dream come true”.
His role entails working alongside the executive director, president and executive committee to uphold the organisation’s strong reputation for self-regulation.
The outgoing Madibaz chairman’s expertise is promoting knowledge management, driving organisational growth and ensuring compliance with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and world governing body (Fifa).
He grew up in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, and his passion for the sport was ignited when he attended a match at Mucheke Stadium to watch Kismet United.
“My dream to be involved in football started on that day in Mucheke,” he remembered.
At the time, the youngster thought the coach was the person who ran everything.
“So I grew up wanting to be a coach, like my uncle Francis, whom I have been named after.”
His involvement in football was initially through volunteering, which is how he met Madibaz Sport football manager Mark Tommy as an undergrad.
While studying towards a law degree at the Gqeberha tertiary institution, he was introduced to the Fifa/CIES sports management diploma, which focuses on the management tools required within sports administration.
Suffice to say, he obtained his law degree, a postgraduate degree in labour law and the sports management qualification.
Makonese became involved with the club while studying and was appointed chairman in 2022.
“It was a role for which I am exceptionally grateful,” he said.
He worked with Tommy and the coaches, led by Elrio van Heerden, and appreciated their vision for football at the varsity and in the city.
“As a perpetual learner, I took many lessons from days spent with them, which I will use in my new role.”
The Madibaz football boss said Makonese had left a lasting legacy as an administrator, one that will hopefully inspire the next generation of student sports administrators.
“The mentorship of administrative support is an area in which the chairman has greatly contributed,” he said. “He co-created succession plans for student leadership in all areas of the club.”
Tommy explained that admin support within student-orientated sports clubs was fluid and, because of the nature of student retention, often presented challenges in terms of governance and delivery.
Makonese also engaged with potential partners to ensure commercialisation outcomes of the sport that fed back into student development.