Safa presidential rivals must keep fight clean

The other silly season is here, and this past weekend saw the first salvos being fired.

The other silly season is here, and this past weekend saw the first salvos being fired.

We are still trying to recuperate from the hangover of the general elections that we had last month.

And before we could say "service delivery", dirt and mudslinging of a different kind became the order of the day between the Democratic Alliance's Helen Zille and ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

We won't get into that but believe there is a lesson to be learnt there.

The lesson is: Keep it clean!

The eagerly awaited South African Football Association presidential elections are due in September and it seems the swords have already been drawn.

As this column is being written, there are only two candidates for the federation's top job.

In the blue corner is Dr Irvin "Iron Duke" Khoza, current Safa vice president, chairperson of the Premier Soccer League and the Local Organising Committee of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and boss of Orlando Pirates.

In the red corner is Dr Danny Jordaan, the chief executive officer of the LOC and past CEO of the federation.

According to weekend reports, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, a Safa vice president, said he and national executive committee members Kirsten Nematandani and president of the South African Schools Football Association, Mandla Mazibuko, were also among the candidates but they pulled out in order to throw their lot in with Jordaan.

The incumbent is Dr Molefi Oliphant who is not standing for another term.

From the reports, one would not be faulted for thinking that the contest is over.

In boxing they term such a victory a unanimous decision.

We would say the same if we didn't know better.

It is said 40 regions out of the federation's 53 have decided to endorse Jordaan.

It's not rocket science.

In what has been described as the "beginning of a new era" South Africans now have an appendage to the local structure called a Football Transformation Forum that had a two-day consultative conference at the weekend.

It is said 40 regions and four associate members were represented by people who were properly mandated by their associations at this forum.

Nonkonyana is quoted as saying "the forum convened to formulate a progressive agenda for the improvement of football in the country".


Some of us remember another appendage that was called a "Commercial Wing", which was supposed to perform miracles that South African soccer followers had never seen before.

No prizes for guessing who was at its head.

Nonkonyana is also quoted as saying six of the regions that did not attend were not invited as they had made it clear that they had their own candidate (read Khoza).

They were waiting for word from the other six why they did not attend.

Smells like there's a Cope kind of situation here.

The uninvited six should have been part of the forum, if it's total football transformation we are talking about.

Otherwise nobody should blame us for thinking they are being ostracised because of who they prefer as their presidential candidate.

At the end of the day we want, nay demand, unity in our football no matter who the president is.

Anyway, was the weekend's consultative conference about the presidential candidates or was it about football transformation?

There are already allegations of "bribery" doing the rounds with astronomical figures being bandied about.

Nonkonyana is so hot under the collar that he also calls the integrity of incumbent Oliphant into question, claiming he was electioneering for a certain candidate.

Why he never mentions this certain candidate by name also beats me.

Methought there were only two. Unless there's something else I may not be aware of.

It doesn't have to be acrimonious.

Let's see a clean fight and let the people speak through the ballot.

On Monday the Khoza faction also made its intentions known.

The gloves are off.

Now, let the two men start canvassing publicly.

Give us your manifestos and let these be debated wherever possible.

The debate has started in earnest and, we are going to be part of it.

May the best man win.