Cape Town - Until recently it would have taken something
akin to a pack of wild horses to stop SAFA president Danny Jordaan staying away
from the glare of a significant and far-reaching FIFA congress.
But last Friday when FIFA got down to the fateful business
of electing Gianni Infantino as its new president in succession to the
disgraced Sepp Blatter and rubber stamped a far-reaching manifesto to eliminate
the widespread corruption within world soccer's controlling body , the SAFA
president was a conspicuous absentee in Zurich.
Asked by an Eastern Cape newspaper why he had decided not to
attend the presidential election, Jordaan replied: "I have only one
full-time job and that is mayor of the Port Elizabeth metro.
"If there are important matters relating to finance
cropping up, I needed to be here."
It contrasted and contradicted what the SAFA president had
insisted when he took on the duties of Port Elizabeth mayor last year amid a
great deal of controversy.
He was adamant at that point it would in no way affect his
duties as SAFA president.
So, it is not entirely surprising, that a good many are suggesting
Jordaan might have had other reasons as well for his stay-at-home.
And it has been pointed out that with the controversial
issue of SAFA's alleged 10-million dollar bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010
World Cup still filtering through the corridors in Zurich, Jordaan might have
reasoned that discretion was the better
part of valour and stayed well away from the controversy in which the payment
from South Africa seemingly ended up in the pocket of notorious former FIFA
vice-president Jack Warner instead of furthering the interests of the African
diaspora in the CONCACAF region.
And, to be sure, investigators into the FIFA financial debacle
have reportedly taken advantage of the opportunity to question members of the
207 international delegations who were in Switzerland for the congress.
As to which South Africans whom the investigators might be seeking to glean
further information, it is a conundrum that remains unanswered in spite of
fingers being pointed in some prominent directions.
At the same time, SAFA communications director Dominic
Chimhavi has confirmed that SAFA's official delegation in Zurich when the vote
on the presidential issue was settled
consisted of CEO Dennis Mumble and technical committee head Natasha
Chimhavi also reiterated the non-committal stance taken by SAFA
in regard to disclosing whom South Africa supported in the presidential race.
"It is not policy to reveal whom we voted for in what
is designed a secret ballot," added the SAFA communications director.
SAFA had previously endorsed the candidacy of Tokyo Sexwale,
although later cooling the relationship considerably with the billionaire former
anti-apartheid activist, who ironically withdrew as one of the five
presidential candidates immediately before voting took place.
The closely-contested issue was ultimately only decided on a
second ballot. Should SAFA's top man have been in Zurich under the
circumstance? It would seem a formality.
But decide for yourself why the Port Elizabeth mayor was not
present at what was a historic meeting for world soccer.