Johannesburg - The South African Football Association (SAFA) said on Saturday that contrary to media reports, it withdrew Danny Jordaan's candidature from the elections for the Presidency of Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) on Friday.
"Recent newspaper articles have speculated that this was done to 'avoid embarrassment' and some have even stated that Dr Jordaan faced a 'humiliating defeat'," SAFA said in a statement.
"It was clear to us going into the election that it would be a very tight race."
SAFA said of the 14 votes, South Africa was assured of six votes, with another four countries giving verbal commitments to Jordaan.
"We were not, however, completely assured of these votes," it said.
"During the proceedings leading to elections, there were some members that expressed gratuitously hostile and aggressive attitudes against South Africa."
The South African soccer body said it was on this basis that the South African delegation decided that even if elected, Jordaan would face a divided COSAFA.
SAFA said the nature of the changes Jordaan wanted to bring about in the organisation would have required a strong mandate from the electorate and a narrow margin of victory would have made it difficult.
In the interests of unity, SAFA decided to withdraw its candidate from the race, but at the same time expressed concerns about the process and some of the attitudes demonstrated by a minority of two, SAFA said.
"While we remain committed to building a strong regional caucus within Southern and Eastern Africa, we cannot and will not allow our leadership to be treated in a dismissive manner," said SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani.
"We value and appreciate the significant international leadership that South Africa has exerted in international football.
"I also want to put it on record that statements flying around that we want to pull out of COSAFA have been taken out of context.
"All we said was that we are considering our participation to reach out on other continental regions like CECAFA and WAFU as COSAFA has only one age group tournament. Otherwise, how do we solidify COSAFA by pulling out?" Nematandani said.