Cape Town - They have been as thick as thieves, to use an expression, for almost two decades in the various portals of South African soccer - some of them bathed in controversy - but the particularly close relationship between SAFA president Danny Jordaan and CEO Dennis Mumble is poised to end.
This is expected to be confirmed on Saturday when acting CEO Russell Paul will be entrusted with Mumble's erstwhile role on a permanent basis at the national body's annual meeting.
Mystery surrounds the split, which would have appeared unthinkable before Mumble's contracted period as CEO ended earlier in the year and an expected renewal never took place, although the working relationship continued for some time afterwards.
Asked recently during a radio interview whether the partnership between SAFA and Mumble had irrevocably come to an end as the CEO became less and less visible, Jordaan evasively replied that a new contract for the CEO position had still to be finalised and discussions with Mumble were among those in progress.
Asked at the same time for Mumble's conspicuous absence from SAFA affairs, public relations manager Dominic Chimhavi said he believed the CEO was serving out a period of leave.
Indeed Mumble served out more than a period of leave at SAFA when he resigned amid a financial controversy early in the 2000s after seemingly having been made the fall guy and scapegoat for overall indiscretions - only to be recalled at a later period as though nothing had happened.
Financial matters also came to the fore recently when Mumble pointed out to SAFA's provincial associations the organisation’s frail monetary situation and the need to fulfil outstanding commitments.
Also, Mumble has been criticised for not displaying more forceful leadership as SAFA became embroiled in various controversies this year, which included the matter of electing the president.
And while the writing has been on the wall for some time now regarding Mumble's pending departure, it became patently more obvious when Paul began issuing a stream of releases recently that have at all times become the prerogative of Jordaan.
Meanwhile, a report that Mumble would now take over as CEO of the financially powerful Absa Premiership was described by a source within the organisation as "ludicrous and laughable."
And it is a fact that the relationship between the SAFA controlling axis of Jordaan and Mumble on the one hand and "Iron Duke" PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza on the other have often been less than amenable and with a hostile under-current to suggest Mumble could now cross the floor almost unthinkable.