Safa is back in the hot seat

2012-04-28 19:01

Serious cracks are showing in the Safa leadership and within the Football Transformation Forum (FTF), the movement which put them in power in 2009.

The latest show of disunity was the removal of Safa president Kirsten Nematandani as chairperson of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Local Organising Committee (LOC).

The move to replace Nematandani with one of his Safa vice-presidents, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, was allegedly orchestrated at an FTF meeting in a bid to flex muscle.

Safa came out with its spin this week, saying this was just a temporary move as Nematandani was out of the country.

Highly-placed sources in Safa this week said this was just the tip of the iceberg and people should brace themselves for a bitter battle leading up to the hosting of the Afcon in January and the elections in September.

The LOC board is scheduled to meet this week, when more heads are expected to roll and Nonkonyana is likely to be removed.

LOC CEO Mvuzo Mbebe said he was not aware of Thursday’s board meeting.

“We are expecting the Cabinet’s decision on Thursday and are going to have a board meeting on the day of the announcement,” said Mbebe.

“This is where the new chairman will be appointed as we are waiting for the government to give us people to serve on the board. What if government wants Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula to chair the board?” asked one source.

“He said the other day we should not put the cart before the horse and what happened this week could be interpreted as defying government.”

The government is yet to give guarantees to the country to host the event which has delayed the naming of host cities.

The source said there are two centres of power, with Nematandani as Safa president and Danny Jordaan as the FTF president and this has created divisions, as the two have their own followers.

According to information received by City Press, there are even more divisions about who should chair the LOC board.

Some are rooting for 2010 Fifa World Cup chairman Irvin Khoza to be installed in the position, others want Danny Jordaan to be at the helm while still another camp believe former Safa president Molefi Oliphant should be asked to do the job.

Oliphant previously refused to chair the World Cup board citing conflict of interest, and said he would be highly compromised as the LOC chairman had to report to the Safa president.

One source said the problem was bigger and was a prelude to the succession battle looming at next year’s elections.

“People are already positioning themselves as they know that when the tournament ends, there will only be seven months left before the elections,” said the source.

“Whoever becomes chairman of the LOC board and delivers a successful tournament will be in the pound seats for the presidency.”

The FTF has previously insisted that some of its members be deployed at Safa. These include Dennis Mumble, who was FTF’s chief strategist leading to the elections. He authored its manifesto.

Mumble was appointed chief operations officer (COF) after being strategic planning and transformation manager in the president’s office.

The COF position was never advertised. Several other FTF cadres have been sent to Safa head office, including Lindile “Ace” Kika, Steve Pila, Nkosinathi Ngcobo and Solly Phasha.

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