“It is a question of the combination of the commercial side of the game and the sport itself,” he says. “Of course, the sport itself is the most important thing, but to improve and develop the talent and facilities you need the finance. And that comes through the commercial side.
“The commercial wing is very strong now and we need to make the sports side even stronger. That will be our focus in 2008.
_quote“Soccer is an ongoing thing; there are new developments all the time. This is a very focussed type of business, you never settle. I don’t want to settle one hundred percent because that can make you a little bit lazy.”
The former journalist told the media that money has been pumped into soccer because sponsors believe in the product and are investing in something they find attractive.
“Out of the money that is being invested, we must pay it back through development and improve facilities at grassroots level in the future. We need money to prove that we can develop, and after developing we’ll have a better reason to raise new money.”
Before the Norwegian Siem came to South Africa, he said he had read of how poor the standard of the game was, with not enough goals scored and that overseas football was generally better. However, upon arrival in the country he says he discovered this was not true.
“I can tell you there are so many Leagues struggling one way or another. I’ve actually seen some fantastic games, like the Kaizer Chiefs versus Orlando Pirates derby in Durban before the 2010 World Cup draw. The Telkom Knockout Cup Final was also a nice match, so we must start to believe more in our product. It is a question of development and brand building,” he adds.