What, no SAFA blood spilled?
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Well, the heading of the press release from the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) extraordinary meeting on Saturday said it all.GALLERY: Bafana train for Botswana
“SAFA Extraordinary Meeting a Success.”
Well, who would have thought?
With all the war talk prior to the meeting, one expected blood all over the floor.
What with one faction vowing by the bones of their ancestors that they would fight tooth and nail to have the clause that precludes club chairpersons - viewed in many quarters to have been installed to prevent PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza from running for the SAFA presidency - to be altered.
They meant to do this despite their failure to submit their recommendation within the timeframes provided by the constitution.
However, reports from those who attended are that the meeting was mostly cordial with a few hitches here and there but this matter never came up for discussion.
Quite unusual for a SAFA meeting that addresses such contentious issues such as constitutional amendments.
Does this, plus the facts that the meeting adopted the SAFA Electoral Code and agreed that the Independent Electoral Commission will conduct next month’s elections, mean that we will witness a smooth process?
This will be contrary to general speculation that this year’s elections will be worse than what we saw the last time around in 2009.
At this event, there were heated debates, several breaks and eventually two candidates, Khoza and Danny Jordaan - whose candidature was being questioned - pulled out of the race thus paving the way for dark horse and compromise candidate Kirsten Nematandani to ascend to the highest seat in local football.
Dark clouds have been gathering ahead of this year’s polls with even dirty tactics such as a mysterious dossier being circulated among members and outsiders.
Talk has been that the main race was going to be between Khoza and Jordaan once more.
In the process, there has been very little talk of how the sport, that finds itself against the ropes, will be taken out of the morass into dry ground where it can soar.
It is with this background that one views the “success” of Saturday’s meeting with some trepidation and suspicion.
To those who have been following the politics of the local game for quite some time, this just seems like a lull before the storm.
Sad as it is, our football has been for years fragmented into factions and in the process the game has suffered.
It is high time that soccer got a unifier, who will put aside personal interests and work for the benefit of the game.
The game needs somebody who will not be aligned to the factions but first work for unity and then move the sport forward.
Just like the old adage goes, Unity is strength, our game needs unity right now more than ever.
For years, people have paid lip service to unity and in the process the game has been destroyed to a level where it has become the laughing stock of other codes and even our African counterparts.
Another question that begs an answer is: Will South African football ever get out of the Khoza/Jordaan shadow? Are they really the only two individuals who can take South African football forward?
I think the answers to these questions, lie with the 52 SAFA regions and associate member who will nominate the candidates and eventually vote on September 28.
Answering these questions, will help them make informed decision come the AGM.S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.
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