/ 27 September 2009

Kirsten Nematandani named as new Safa boss

It was a day and night of drama which ended when outsider Kirsten Nematandani was elected unopposed as the new president of the South African Football Association at a stormy annual general meeting in Kempton Park on Saturday.

Nematandani, who heads the Safa Referees Committee, will have Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Mandla ”Shooz” Mazibuko as his vice-presidents. Both men were also elected unopposed.

Nematandani’s election is seen as a huge victory for the Football Transformation Forum (FTF) of which Danny Jordaan, one of the other presidential candidates, is the head.

It appears Jordaan and the FTF outmanoeuvred his rival for the Safa presidency, Irvin Khoza, in a tense stand-off which resulted in both men withdrawing from the presidential race on Saturday night.

The drama started early in the morning with 120 police officers who were on duty at the OR Tambo Southern Sun hotel searching vehicles for guns and weapons.

The authorities were worried violence could rear its head as Khoza and Jordaan went head-to-head for the biggest prize in local soccer.

There was trouble between rival supporters of Jordaan and Khoza at a previous Safa meeting — which led to a fist fight.

Both Khoza and Jordaan were the leading lights in bringing the Soccer World Cup to South Africa. Jordaan is the 2010 Local Organising Committee CEO while Khoza is chairperson of the 2010 LOC.

It was obvious from the start that the AGM, in which delegates would be voting for a new president to replace outgoing Molefi Oliphant, was not going to be easy.

But after claims from both camps that Jordaan and Khoza were ineligible, the meeting stalled at about 3pm when Judge Ralph Zulman and senior council Ismael Semenyane were asked to mediate and decide if either or both candidates were able to stand.

The Premier Soccer League, of which Khoza is chairperson, alleged Jordaan, as a paid Safa official, was not eligible to be president of Safa.

Jordaan’s FTF hit back by citing that constitutionally, as PSL chairperson, Khoza was prevented from standing as a candidate for the
Safa presidency.

It was a major victory for Jordaan and his FTF, who have pledged to shake up the way soccer in South Africa has been run. – Sapa