Mbalula, Sedibe put their foot in their mouths

Cape Town - Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and former SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe have both come out firing over unrelated issues in the current bribery and match-fixing issues in which South African soccer has become embroiled - and put their foot in their mouths in the process.

In contrast, top South African officials like SAFA president Danny Jordaan and former president Molefi Oliphant, who were close to the issues at hand, have adopted a course akin to that of discretion being the better part of valour, while lying low and saying nothing.

Instead of furthering their arguments, Sedibe, most certainly it would seem, and possibly Mbalula as well, while attempting to defuse major and far-reaching allegations, may have made matters worse.

Sedibe claimed in a lengthy, rambling release that he has been made a scapegoat by SAFA after FIFA a had suspended him for five years and that he was not involved in the match-fixing of a number of Bafana Bafana games before the 2010 World Cup.

SAFA, however, have fired their own responding salvo, with head of Ethics Committee Poobalan Govindasamy claiming the agreement between the organisation and match-fixer  Wilson Perumal for the Bafana games in question was signed by Sedibe himself when he was the organisation's CEO.

Mbalula, for his part, wanted to know how SAFA could have made a bribe to notorious former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to secure votes to stage the 2010 World Cup after South Africa had already been awarded the World Cup.

"Why would you offer a bribe to stage the World Cup after you had already received the right to so so? he trumpeted.

In truth, the various allegations made by the USA State Department - and now FIFA - is that while the long-delayed payment to Warner was made after the staging of the 2010 event had already been awarded, the relevant deal was done some time before the decision was made.

Jordaan, in contrast, has drawn attention to the fact that he has failed to attend recent FIFA congresses at which he would have been expected to be present in his capacity as FIFA president - and this week failing to attend the major SAFA sponsorship announcement with South African Airways.

Oliphant, for his part, has enacted an impressive imitation of "The Invisible Man" since the alleged bribery issue hit the headlines.

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