Johannesburg – Danny Jordaan believes he is leading a unified South African Football Association after his landslide victory on Saturday in the race for the presidency.
Jordaan, the heavy favourite to take the country’s footballing hot seat, swept aside the other candidate, Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko at the Safa Elective Congress in Midrand, garnering 162 votes from the Safa members to Mazibuko’s 88.
Mazibuko ran for president after splitting from Jordaan’s Football Transformation Forum, the same group that saw Kirsten Nematandani elected to power in 2009. Mazibuko also on Saturday withdrew his nomination as vice-president, and Jordaan insisted that there are no divided factions within Safa.
“This election is a Safa election, it is not an election of one group or another,” said Jordaan. “The Safa president and all executive members are elected Safa members, we are not in football by invitation or favours. Many people have earned their stripes in football and have a right to be in football. We are a Safa executive that must serve South African football, not one group or another.”
Jordaan also denied there would be any problem in his relationship with the Premier Soccer League, scoffing at the idea of difficulties between himself and PSL chairman Irvin Khoza.
“The people at the PSL are not strangers,” said Jordaan. “I travelled with Kaizer Motaung in 1991 to discuss the creation of Safa, I have worked with Irvin Khoza for 20 years. Nobody in this country has worked longer with these people than me.
“This is a tremendous day for South African football,” added the Safa president, taking a break from the election process early yesterday evening. “I am very happy and accept the great challenges ahead. I am there not as an individual but with a team.”
Three Safa vice presidents were elected, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana retaining his place. Nonkonyana had already won a serious political victory in this election, by somehow managing to get himself on the list of nominated vice presidents for both Jordaan and Mazibuko.
The other Safa vice-presidents are Elvis Shishana from Oudtshoorn in the Eastern Cape and Lucas Nhlapho from Bela Bela in the Limpopo province.
The 62-year-old Jordaan will serve a four-year term until the next congress in 2017. Given that he has been at the forefront of the national game for years, it is perhaps surprising that this is the first time Jordaan has been given the presidency on a permanent basis. He was briefly named interim president in 1991, and was a Safa vice-president between 1991 and 1997, before being named CEO of the association. Jordaan went on to head up South Africa’s bids for the 2006 and 2010 Fifa World Cups.
Jordaan pulled out of the race for the Safa presidency in 2009, to concentrate on organising the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but was a vice-president under Nematandani. And his election as president seemed inevitable when the same 32 Safa regions that nominated him in 2009, again nominated Jordaan for this election.
Jordaan faces a massive task to revive the fortunes of South African football, with development structures in a shambles, and the national teams a fading force in the continental game.