Home » From the playing field to the boardroom – new SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao

From the playing field to the boardroom – new SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao

by Lesley Ngwa
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The story of Lydia Monyepao is one of many that give hope that with determination, drive and the will to succeed, you can make it to the top.

Her appointment is also seen as a big boost for women in football to hold positions of responsibility and not just be pen pushers.

Skills, as she is fondly known by those close to her, was on Monday (08 May 2023) named into one of the highest offices in local football – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the South African Football Association (SAFA), promoting her from the previous position she held of Chief Operations Officer (COO).

She becomes the first woman to serve in the CEO position on a permanent basis – Pinkie Lehoko once held the post on a temporary basis.

Monyepao steps into the shoes of Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe who quit the job on Friday (5 May) two years into his five-year contract, citing personal reasons.

‘’It is big shoes that I am filling and I have to hit the ground running. I am capable of hitting the ground running, I will accept the task and take the work forward. I am not naïve in terms of what is required for this job. I know the challenges that surround any CEO of the South African Football Association, I am not blind to that,” she told the media following her announcement.

“But as indicated, no job is easy and you have to take it as it comes and apply what you are good at, and what you are capable of. Thank you very much to the President and to the SAFA NEC for having confidence in me and my abilities. My CV will show you in terms of my previous experience and my educational, so I believe I am capable of this.”

Monyepao comes with loads of experience in football administration as well as the corporate world.

She ran out for Banyana Banyana as a player between 2002 and 2004, where she got to play in the then Africa Women’s Championship qualifiers and tournaments (now known as the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations).

Advancing her skills and improving her education has always been one of her priorities, and her grooming started at an early age.

While a student of Auditing in 2007, she worked for auditing firm Ernst & Young who had an account with the local organising committee (LOC) of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. A year later she left the job to go study Masters in Sports Management at Loughborough University in the UK through a British Council Scholarship.

Not one to rest on her laurels, over the years she has acquired a lot of skills.

Monyepao is armed with various degrees and certificates, and has been able to gain plenty of experience in the financial and sport management fields. She has a BComm Honours in Accounting (CTA) and Bachelor of Commerce.

More recently she obtained certificates in Technical Leadership Programme with FIFA (March 2023) and the UEFA Assist Programme: Leadership (February 2023).

Among others, she has worked as a football analyst for Kwese Sport and the South African Broadcasting Corporation; former Deputy Director at the University of Pretoria (Tuks); and Sports and Communications Officer between at the University of the Witwatersrand (now known as WITS) for two years, from 2010 to 2021 as well as Team Manager of the South African Senior Women’s National team – Banyana Banyana from 2012 to 2014.

“We wish her all the best. Certainly at the SAFA Emergency Committee meeting yesterday (Sunday, 8 May 2023), the decision was unanimous. Everyone agreed to the appointment of Lydia Monyepao as the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Football Association. So, congratulations, and you have to hit the ground running. The first engagement is on Tuesday, 9 May 2023) in Cape Town with the government. She knows all the deadlines (for South Africa’s bid for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup) because she has been working on all these matters anyway, and it is nothing new,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, addressing the media.

Monyepao becomes the seventh SAFA CEO since 2010, walking in the shoes of Leslie Sedibe, Robin Petersen, Dennis Mumble, Gay Mokoena, Russell Paul and Motlanthe.

Lydia Monyepao Fact File:


Job Title Organisation Period
Chief Executive Officer South African Football Association Current
Chief Operations Officer South African Football Association July 2021 – May 2023
Online Tutor & Module Coordinator University of London (PGCert ISM) Sep 2020 – current
Deputy Director: TuksSport University of Pretoria Mar 2014 – June 2021
Football Analyst SABC, Kwese Sport, Freelancer 2016 – Jun 2021
Team Manager: Banyana Banyana South African Football Association Feb 2012 – Feb 2014
Sport & Communications Officer Wits Sport, Wits Witwatersrand Dec 2010 – Feb 2012
Team Liaison Officer: Banyana Banyana CAF Women’s AFCON LOC Oct – Nov 2010
Marketing Coordinator (Soccer City) 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC Mar – Jul 2010
Supervisor/Assistant Manager EY South Africa Jan 2006 – Sep 2008
Trainee Accountant/Audit Clerk EY South Africa Jan 2003 – Sep 2005


Qualification Institution Completion
Masters in Sports Management Loughborough University, UK 2009
BCom Honours in Accounting (CTA) University of KwaZulu-Natal 2002
Bachelor of Commerce University of the Witwatersrand 2000
HIGCSE (Matric Equivalent) International School of South Africa 1996
Grade 6 (Standard 4) Swarisanang Primary School 1990


Certificate Institution / Organisation Completion
Technical Leadership Programme FIFA Mar 2023
UEFA Assist Program: Leadership UEFA Feb 2023
Thought Leadership for Africa’s Renewal Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (UNISA) Jun 2020
Women in Leadership Programme University of Stellenbosch Business School Mar 2020
Women and Sport Leadership Training SAWASF in partnership with University ofChichester, UK Mar 2020
Women in Football LeadershipProgramme FIFA in partnership with UEFA & IMD BusinessSchool Nov 2019
French (1st & 2nd years) University of Pretoria 2018 – 2019*
Management Advancement Programme Wits Business School 2017
Women as Leaders Programme Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) 2017
UP Leadership Programme Gordon Institute

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