Cape Town - Better a red face than a black heart, suggests a wise old
Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that the faces of
the SAFA administration must now be a beetroot red after the devastating and
embarrassing 16-1 CAF executive voting defeat at the hands of Egypt in the
belated choice to stage this year's Africa Cup of Nations in place of deposed
Cameroon, who were recently ruled by the Confederation's ruling body not
to have the necessary venues and allied facilities for the extended 24-nation
And burying SAFA's beetroot red face in the mud even further
is the fact that the only vote cast in favour of South Africa was that of
president Danny Jordaan, with one abstention completing the lop-sided voting
Jordaan himself has blamed a political conspiracy for the
debacle, claiming North African countries enjoy a stranglehold on CAF affairs.
But this is a lame excuse indeed in spite of the North
African countries strong hand in CAF matters, when you consider that no East,
West or even Southern African country apart from South Africa itself, cast a vote in favour of Jordaan's SAFA regime.
More to the point as CAF president Ahmad Ahmad explained was
the fact that in view of the urgent time factor involved, the voting reflected
the fact that the winners in the two-horse race between Egypt and South
Africa needed to supply firm guarantees and evidence of its ability to
stage the tournament, which not only extended to match facilities and
all other allied facilities, but also a firm commitment from the
governments in question to support the event financially and in all other
respects as well.
Egypt satisfied these conditions, while a
cash-strapped SAFA, who showed a R18 million loss in the immediate past
financial year, blithely relied heavily for support on the streamlined stadiums that had been utilised during the hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2010 -
with no firm assurances at government level for a tournament that could require
an expenditure of R150 million or more.
Not for the first time, the prevailing egos of SAFA got the
better of them.
Jordaan at one point insisted - incorrectly - that CAF had asked
them to take over as the replacement for Cameroon and South Africa's
controlling body indiscreetly placed the cart in front of the horse instead of
And in the circumstances, SAFA might have been better
off and more discreet not joining the race for hosting at all as had
early favourites Morocco and most other African countries who were patently
aware of the enormity of the prevailing task at such short notice.
In a practical sense after SAFA's humiliation, Bafana
Bafana, who were caught in the middle of CAF's hosting mish-mash, will now
still have to avoid defeat in their final AFCON qualifying match against
Libya in March in order to qualify for Egypt. Had South Africa somehow been
chosen to host the tournament, Bafana would have gained automatic
Meanwhile grains of comfort for South African soccer during
the SAFA morass have been provided at women's level, with notable
achievements by Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, who has been chosen
"African Women's Coach of the Year" and Banyana's enterprising Thembi
Kgatlana, who has not only been named "African Women's Player of the
Year", but has also completed a unique double as the recipient of the
"Goal of the Year" award open to both men and women!