Pressing issues: Soccer first, politics second

2013-08-06 10:00

Every four years, the SA Football Association (Safa) elections take place.

And while this is an important and democratic process, it is sad that, over the years, it has deteriorated into a circus.

We thought we would never see anything worse than what happened in 2009 when peeved South African football strongman Irvin Khoza – known as “The Iron Duke”, a self-explanatory monicker – stormed out of the elective conference.

But those in the know say if we thought the 2009 elections were ugly, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as they would put it in the land of Uncle Sam.

And if what we have seen so far, starting with the thick “dossier” that was previously circulated and some email exchanges between some members of the so-called “football family”, we are headed for yet another ugly elective conference.

What has happened so far is that incumbent president Kirsten Nematandani has put his hand up for a second term, so that he can continue with his “legacy” and properly implement “my” technical master plan.

On Sunday, Safa vice-president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko came out to say they have decided to approach Khoza to stand once more so that he can take football to another level. This group, known as “Sofasonke”, said Mazibuko, Alpha Mchunu and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana would be Khoza's vice-presidents, should he be elected.

Nonkonyana has since proclaimed that he is still waiting to be nominated, but had been approached privately to stand either as president or continue as vice-president.

On the other hand, reports are that there is another group that supports Danny Jordaan to take over the reins as president.

While all of this is part of democracy and democratic processes, the question is: Is this football? Worse still, is it about football? Methinks not.

For how long will the Safa constitution undergo amendments that are not for football reasons but to accommodate certain individuals?

From the onset, the clause that installed the Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson as one of the vice-presidents was inserted to appease Khoza. Did that benefit the game or Safa? No!

And then the 2011 clause to prevent the PSL chairperson or any club owner from running for the Safa hot seat was installed to prevent Khoza from entering these upcoming elections. Any benefit to football? Zilch!

And then yet another amendment was that Safa must have four vice-presidents and this was done to give Jordaan a bite of the cake.

How did this benefit football? I don’t see that it did.

One consistent thing is that while individuals’ interests continue to be put ahead of those of the sport, the game continues to suffer and sink ever deeper into the quagmire.

Bafana Bafana have sunk low, Safa’s finances are in disarray and the organisation’s administration blunders from pillar to post. It currently does not even have a head in its crucial legal department. It is high time that those who vote, the Safa regions, forget about individuals, but vote for the good of South African football.

Our nation deserves better.

»smseleku@citypress.co.za

» Talk to us: What can be done to get SA’s football leadership right?

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