Cape Town - Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and former SAFA
CEO Leslie Sedibe have both come out firing over unrelated issues in the
current bribery and match-fixing issues in which South African soccer has
become embroiled - and put their foot in their mouths in the process.
In contrast, top South African officials like SAFA president
Danny Jordaan and former president Molefi Oliphant, who were close to the
issues at hand, have adopted a course akin to that of discretion being the
better part of valour, while lying low and saying nothing.
Instead of furthering their arguments, Sedibe, most
certainly it would seem, and possibly Mbalula as well, while attempting to
defuse major and far-reaching allegations, may have made matters worse.
Sedibe claimed in a lengthy, rambling release that he has
been made a scapegoat by SAFA after FIFA a had suspended him for five years and
that he was not involved in the match-fixing of a number of Bafana Bafana games
before the 2010 World Cup.
SAFA, however, have fired their own responding salvo, with
head of Ethics Committee Poobalan Govindasamy claiming the agreement between
the organisation and match-fixer Wilson
Perumal for the Bafana games in question was signed by Sedibe himself when he
was the organisation's CEO.
Mbalula, for his part, wanted to know how SAFA could have
made a bribe to notorious former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to secure
votes to stage the 2010 World Cup after South Africa had already been awarded
the World Cup.
"Why would you offer a bribe to stage the World Cup
after you had already received the right to so so? he trumpeted.
In truth, the various allegations made by the USA State
Department - and now FIFA - is that while the long-delayed payment to Warner
was made after the staging of the 2010 event had already been awarded, the
relevant deal was done some time before the decision was made.
Jordaan, in contrast, has drawn attention to the fact that
he has failed to attend recent FIFA congresses at which he would have been
expected to be present in his capacity as FIFA president - and this week
failing to attend the major SAFA sponsorship announcement with South African
Oliphant, for his part, has enacted an impressive imitation
of "The Invisible Man" since the alleged bribery issue hit the