Fri, 02 Oct 2020

They were - to use an expression - as thick as thieves while occupying an assortment of administrative positions at SAFA for more than two decades.

But, in what has in the past week emerged a striking turnaround, president Danny Jordaan and former CEO Dennis Mumble, have intriguingly been fighting like cat and dog as a bitter battle of words has raged around the controlling body of South African soccer.

What is more, they are anything but veiled accusations against each other in what is clearly a broken, if unexplained soccer marriage since the departure of Mumble from SAFA more than a year ago.

Following an earlier attack on the credentials and integrity of Jordaan by recently departing acting CEO, Gay Mokoena, an uncompromising Mumble delivered a scathing 71 page, 30 000-word indictment of the SAFA president to the organisation's National Executive Committee (NEC).

Jordaan, for his part, has dismissed many of the allegations as lies and pointed to the fact that with Mumble now 67 and the age for retirement of SAFA administrators pegged at 60, his stay was actually over-extended before finally not being renewed - with his diatribe no more than that of a bad loser.

Mumble, in a retaliatory salvo, points out that Jordaan is older than him and so the departure of the president is also long over-due.

SAFA statements, ostensibly incorporating eight regional presidents and former Bafana Bafana stalwart, David Nyathi, now on the organisation's technical committee, have voiced uncompromising support for Jordaan and supported the allegation that there is a concerted conspiracy to unseat the president.

But Mumble has hit back by suggesting that the meek response from within SAFA was orchestrated by Jordaan himself and only provides further proof and evidence of how the president controls the organisation for his own benefit and anyone who opposes him is speedily shown the door.

Furthermore, Mumble claims SAFA is in a disorganised mess, financially and otherwise, and much of it is due to the autocratic, egoistical manner in which Jordaan continues to act as though he owns the organisation, while pointing to an assortment of controversies in which the president has been involved.

At the same time, if SAFA's lengthy, protracted defence is to be believed, the organisation is riding on the crest of a wave and the game at all levels could not be better.

However, the pivotal aspects of Jordaan's much-touted "Vision 2022" programme after he became president - the success of Bafana at top level - has yet to materialise and time is fast running out.

Jordaan has astutely surrounded himself with obedient support within SAFA and opposition from within the organisation is unlikely.

However, opponents of the president have never been more outspoken and under-current differences with the powerful PSL professional organisation could be his Achilles heel.

Ultimately, actions and results and not rhetoric will decide "the battle of the SAFA bulge" in an environment in which both sides see the tragic coronavirus crisis benefitting their case.

As to Mumble's devastating and intimidating verbal assault, it has not explained his silence for so many years while sticking by Jordaan's side.

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