Nematandani elected as new SAFA President

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Johannesburg - Kirsten Nematandani has been elected unopposed as the new president of the South African Football Association (SAFA), following the withdrawal of 2010 LOC Chief Executive Officer Dr Danny Jordaan and Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza from the presidential race.

Nematandani was surprisingly elected unopposed at the contentious SAFA election, on Saturday, during the association's Annual General Meeting.

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Mandla Mazibuko were also elected unopposed as vice presidents.

Nematandani, who heads the SAFA Referees Committee, has been one of the country's instrumental football administrators in the past 15 years.

He is also the Director of Sports and Recreation at the University of Venda and was elected as the Assistant General Co-ordinator for Africa Cup of Nations played in Ghana in 2008.

Earlier in the day, the atmosphere was extremely tense at the dramatic SAFA meeting, which ran for more than ten hours following an elusive raw between Dr Khoza and Dr Jordaan's camps.

The fierce raw between the two factions was maintained when the organisation's executive handed over the issue of Dr Jordaan and Dr Khoza's eligibility to an agreed panel of legal authorities.

Dr Jordaan's eligibility has been questioned by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on the basis that his position as Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) was that of a paid official of SAFA, thus he was constitutionally ineligible for the presidency.

On the other side, Dr Jordaan's faction known as the Football Transformation Forum, argued that Khoza should be declared ineligible by virtue of his standing as the PSL's vice-president appointee, which forbid him to be SAFA president.

This matter was handed over to the panel of experts who were tasked with making findings and recommendations to the electoral officer for consideration.

"It is such a delicate issue, that the executive decided to call on a panel of leading legal authorities to come up with an answer," SAFA spokesperson, Morio Sanyane Senyane told reporters, who eagerly waited several hours outside the venue for the results.

Sanyane further told BuaNews that Dr Khoza and Dr Jordaan withdrew voluntarily for other technical reasons.

"They both also pulled out voluntarily after the electoral officer, independent judge and the senior counsel recommended that the issue of eligibility must be referred to the arbitrary.

"However, the senior council decided to proceed with the elections after the two announced their withdrawal which left Nematandani as the sole candidate," he said.

Outgoing President Oliphant told reporters that this was the saddest Annual General Meeting, adding that if members of the executive had issues they needed to come to the table and resolve them sooner.

"I'm disappointed and saddened by the way this meeting was conducted. This is the saddest day in the history of SAFA.

"I think we have to meet sooner and resolve whatever issues between the executive members for the best of our football and the country's image in the international soccer fraternity," he said.

Oliphant was also appointed as an Honorary Life President of SAFA. The position will enable him to enjoy the benefits of a President and the right to attend meetings however, he has no voting rights and is not part of the decision making body.

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