Oliphant carries can for Jordaan’s Fifa flop

2011-02-26 18:16

It seems the pact of South Africa’s “Three Musketeers” – Irvin Khoza, Danny Jordaan and Molefi ­Oliphant – who were once hailed globally for bringing the World Cup to the country, is ­finished.

The latest spat happened in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum where the Confederation of African Football (Caf) held elections this week, and Oliphant was accused of campaigning to prevent Jordaan from getting a seat on the Caf and Fifa executive.

This follows hot on the heels of the 2009 Safa elections when Jordaan and Khoza were both vying for the presidency of the association.

Since then, relations between the two have been strained.

Now the Sudan debacle, which saw Jordaan failing dismally when he gained a meagre 10 votes, is threatening to destroy the last thread of the relationship.

Algeria’s Mohamed Raouraou and Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma amassed 39 and 34 votes respectively to garner seats in the powerful Fifa executive, while president of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa), Suketu Patel of Seychelles, came third with 12 votes.

A Safa insider alleged that ­Oliphant was still bitter that the association did not endorse his name to the Caf executive as his term as the second vice-president was coming to an end.

“There were three rumours when we got there that he must make sure that no one from ­Safa gets to the executive so he could be co-opted and this is what happened. Secondly, that he should convince us not to stand, which he tried to do, and thirdly that he was campaigning against us,” said the source.

But when Oliphant was confronted by a Safa delegation of president Kirsten Nematandani and his three vice presidents – Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Mandla Mazibuko and Jordaan, the former Safa president denied the allegations. Oliphant confirmed the ­meeting but said the quartet wanted to know if he was supporting Patel.

He denied betraying anyone, saying there was no bad blood between himself and Jordaan.

“You can only betray if you have made promises and I had no personal interest in this matter. I can’t stop people from saying what they want to say but the fact is I don’t have a vote and just acted as an ­observer. For the record, I didn’t support any candidate as I didn’t see any reason to do so. Why should I be blamed when Danny lost?” asked Oliphant.

He said he was not surprised by the outcome of the elections and that Jordaan lost, saying the signs had always been there.

“I did advise him to withdraw from the race after it became clear that there were two front-runners.

“I had a meeting with the Safa delegation two days prior to the elections and gave them three options – to withdraw, to fight it out even though it was apparent he was going to lose, or to talk to Cosafa delegates to split the votes between Danny and Patel.”

An Oliphant associate said Jordaan should blame his ­campaigner, Mamadou Gaye, for his failure.

“Did he really expect support from the people whom Mamadou always lambasts, including Issa (Hayatou). He should have known better that Caf people don’t want Mamadou,” said the source.

Jordaan refused to comment, saying only Nematandani was mandated to do so.

Nonkonyana said the revelations were a cause for concern and they would get to the ­bottom of it.

He said they would review the situation and decide what steps to take, if any, if they found out anything unbecoming about the former president.

“It was not clear what role our former president played out there, but we were taken by surprise when he failed to honour our invitation to join us for lunch where Danny was outlining his plans. He needs to take us into his confidence and tell us what exactly happened,” said Nonkonyana.

A diplomatic Jordaan said: “After witnessing the emergence of new factors in the elections I am happy with the vote counts and I want to thank those who supported us.

I played the game according to the rules of good governance.”

Nematandani could only say Oliphant was not revealing all about their meeting.

“It’s not the entire truth that he told you and I don’t want to say much because he is not here. He’s our honorary president and that is the highest honour we could award him. Sometimes there is a need to protect a person’s integrity by not saying anything,” concluded ­Nematandani.

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