phasha lives it up in Ghana

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

ACCRA - Veteran South African soccer administrator, Solly Phasha, is getting the royal treatment in Ghana, an experience he is bound to cherish for a very long time.

Phasha has been invited to the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana as a special guest of Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Phasha is employed by the South African Football Association (Safa) as director in charge of executive support.

The man affectionately known as "My Brother" in Mzansi soccer circles, deals with bookings and support of Safa's national executive committee members in the country and internationally.

Sowetan has learnt that Phasha, a former Chappies Little League national manager, was personally invited to the tournament by Hayatou in recognition of the support he gives to global soccer leaders when they visit South Africa.

Phasha goes the extra mile by also taking care of soccer leaders when they are in South Africa or in transit.

In Ghana, Phasha, who has a personal driver for the duration of the tournament, is chauffeured around in a luxury German car.

On Sunday night, he was on the Ghanaian presidency's jet with Hayatou and selected special guests on a flight from the capital Accra to Sekondi for the quarterfinal match between the Ivory Coast and Guinea, where Guinea were embarrassed 5-0.

Hayatou's guests had watched the Black Stars of Ghana beat Nigeria 2-1 in another quarterfinal earlier that evening in Accra.

Approached for comment yesterday at a leading hotel in the presence of 2010 World Cup chief executive Danny Jordaan, Phasha diplomatically played down the royal treatment given to him by Africa's soccer governing body.

"I'm here to watch the tournament, which has been great," he said.

Phasha is even the envy of some of the Safa executive committee members, who are offering their expertise to ensure that the biennial continental soccer spectacle is a roaring success.

David Nhlabathi, Safa executive member who is an assistant coordinator of the host city of Accra, said: "Solly is living like a king here in Ghana.

"He is rubbing shoulders with local politicians and other dignitaries."

lRamatsiyi Moholoa is in Ghana as a guest of Standard Bank.