A well-calculated strategy to come up with an alternative plan has brought victory to Danny Jordaan’s camp as his ally, Kirsten Nematandani, is now the new president of the South African Football Association following a day of high drama during the Safa elections in Kempton Park at the weekend.

It was expected as early as two months ago that there was going to be a lot of manoeuvring during the Safa elections, and it happened exactly like that.

It became clear that Nematandani from Limpopo was going to be the new Safa boss after the Irvin Khoza faction and Jordaan’s camp each questioned the two candidates’ eligibility for the presidency.

The gripe of the Khoza faction was that Jordaan could not stand for the Safa presidency by virtue of the fact that he is in the organisation’s employ by being the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) .

On the other hand, the Jordaan camp argued that Khoza as the chairperson of the Premier Soccer League made him an ineligible candidate for the Safa presidency.

Unexpectedly, both Khoza and Jordaan pulled out of the race, leaving 51-year-old Nematandani, who is the chairperson of the Safa referees’ committee, as the only candidate.

It was, however, simply clear that Jordaan’s camp was going to win after it was decided that Safa’s Metsweding region was eligible to vote.

The region supported the Football Transformation Forum, which had been backing Jordaan’s candidacy.

Sensing that a win was slipping by, Khoza stormed out of the meeting and was followed by his PSL sympathisers.

“It’s an honour for me to be elected as Safa president. I will work very hard to ensure the best for our soccer,” said Nematandani.

It was a day of victory for the Jordaan camp as Mwelo Nonkonyana and Mandla Mazibuko, two of his closest allies, were voted as Safa vice-presidents.

The Safa elections went against Fifa’s wish to have them postponed until after next year’s World Cup tournament.

As promised earlier this month, Fifa sent one of its vice-presidents, Geoff Thompson, and the world governing body’s development officer for Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, to the meeting. Among the issues that were agreed upon during the meeting is for the grants for Safa regions to be increased from R150 000 to R250 000, while associate members will each receive R125 000.

Khoza, who is the 2010 LOC chairperson, and Jordaan, can now go back to prepare for the first World Cup showpiece to be held on African soil.

Meanwhile, Molefi Oliphant, who vacated the Safa presidency on Saturday, is now the organisation’s honorary life president.

PUBLICATION: Daily Dispatch Online
AUTHOR: MONWABISI JIMLONGO
DATED: 28th September 2009