KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Danny Jordaan has moved a significant step closer to the top job in South African football after Irvin Khoza gave up hope of beating the rules to contest next month’s presidential elections.
Jordaan, the ‘international face’ of the country’s World Cup effort in the decade leading up to the finals in 2010, appears likely to be rewarded for endurance and limitless patience over the last three years in mapping a path through a political minefield.
This past week Jordaan was given the first green light when 32 of the 52 regions nominated him as their candidate days ahead of the weekend deadline.
The regions also proposed Elvis Shisana, Lucas Nhlapo and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana – hitherto a supporter of Khoza – to serve as vice-presidents under Jordaan who is bidding to oust controversy-discredited Kirsten Nematandani.
SAFA has tottered from one controversy to another since the World Cup over its finances, misuse of Cup legacy revenues and a matchfixing scandal from early 2010 which remains unresolved.
Nematandani and other officials were suspended briefly over the matchfix allegations. His ban was lifted with diplomatically convenient timing just before South Africa had to welcome the rest of the continent at the start of the year for its hosting of the African Nations Cup.
Jordaan’s potential to restore SAFA’s credibility was endorsed in comments to the local media by NEC member Mzwandile Maforvane.
He said: “Our image is not good at the moment. Our image has deteriorated since we hosted the 2010 World Cup, and this is not good for the sport. We need Danny to help repair the damage we have suffered over the past few months because we have really taken a beating.
“We also need him to help secure sponsorships because they have also been affected by all this negativity.”
Nematandani has confirmed his intention to fight on but Khoza, chairman of Orlando Pirates, had to accept that he could not find a way around a SAFA rule which prevents club bosses serving as federation president.
Khoza said he had been approached to stand but had been forced to acknowledge “the limitations brought about by Article 37.9 of the SAFA Constitution.”
Zululand had sought a legal opinion on the issue but this was impossible before the nomination deadline.
Khoza added: “My standing at this stage will create a negativity that I can’t afford to bring to football. I take this opportunity to thank those that approached me to stand. I derive continued strength in their confidence in me and the contribution they believe I make.”
Other nominations for positions on the executive committee include former Mamelodi Sundowns managing director Anastasia Tsichlas, Ria Ledwaba, Nomsa Mahlangu, Norman Arendse, Truman Prince and Xolile Komphela.