/ 30 March 2010

Khoza dismisses coup reports as ‘nonsense’

Khoza Dismisses Coup Reports As 'nonsense'

The chairperson of the 2010 local organising committee, Irvin Khoza, on Tuesday denied newspaper reports that he was plotting a coup to destabilise the South African Football Association (Safa).

“The coordinated Sunday newspapers’ assertion quoting non-existent meetings to plot a non-existent coup [by me] is not only false, but maliciously peddled by those who clearly do not care about putting the World Cup first,” he told media at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) headquarters in Johannesburg.

Khoza, who is also the chairperson of the PSL, said he would not allow infighting to compromise the successful staging of the first World Cup finals on African soil.

He took the Sunday Times and City Press to task over their “untrue” reports last Sunday, saying he was “not upset but disappointed”.

The reports claimed that Khoza had meetings with the government, the African National Congress (ANC), the ANC Women’s League and five members of the Safa executive in a bid to oust the current leadership of Safa.

“I held no meetings with anyone. Nowhere in the reports in the media on Sunday did they quote me. But that is not a big deal,” he said.

“Why did the papers not get hold of people in the ANC, government or the women’s league for their comment?”

Khoza said that after the controversial Safa elections, where he lost his bid to become president last September, he had agreed with President Jacob Zuma that he would not contest the elections until after the World Cup.

“I reserve the right to challenge the elections if I want to,” he said. “But I will honour my commitment to President Zuma and the country and I will stick by that.

“I would never do anything to harm the World Cup in any way. I have always understood and appreciated that the World Cup is more than me and not about me.

“I will therefore stop at nothing to ensure that those who want to take away the World Cup have no latitude to do so — be they foreign agents or compromised local media bought by those selfish enough to put their narrow interest ahead of those of the nation and the World Cup.”

Khoza said he had attended a Safa executive meeting in Johannesburg last Friday which was cordial.

“Then on Sunday I read I am plotting a coup. What nonsense.”

Khoza said he was not looking for sympathy or mercy, saying: “I am at a loss for words to explain these reports. I would never cause any disunity in Safa.”

He ducked a question on whether he would take legal action against the newspapers.

“I do not expect the media to write PR about me and the World Cup. Just the facts.”

Khoza said he had written to the ANC and the ANC Women’s League to ask for clarity on the issue. He said he would meet the ANC Youth League leader soon.

“I need to get face-to-face meetings with all parties and get to the bottom of these stories and find out who these faceless people are that are bringing my name into disrepute.” — Sapa