Johannesburg – Danny Jordaan has way too many goals and objectives to fulfil in the next four years for someone who described himself as content with his contribution to the game and was willing to saunter into the sunset.
Speaking after he had secured a landslide victory (he got 186 votes to Ria Ledwaba’s 27 and Solly Mohlabeng’s eight) that earned him a third-successive and ‘final’ term as president of the South African Football Association (SAFA), the 70-year-old rattled off a long list of things to achieve as though he was only getting into the position for the first time.
“This time,” he added after having said he was ‘already happy when I was CEO of the World Cup in 2010’, “We want a Bafana Bafana team that’s competitive; a strong technical plan that can support football in the country; a clean pathway from junior to senior international football and a succession plan.”
President of the country’s football governing body since 2013 and having been in SAFA in different capacities since readmission to the world game in 1992, Jordaan going for a third term smacks of a typical African leader who doesn’t want to let go.
And while he proudly listed achievements attained under his watch – ranging from qualification for all age-group competitions to the increase of women’s involvement in all sectors of the game – the goals he wants attained in this new term seemed to confirm the assertion by her beaten adversary Ria Ledwaba that he has failed the sport.
Yet unlike his vanquished adversary who swore to continue fighting until the incumbent ‘is out of football’, Jordaan steered clear of mudslinging and focused on highlighting the achievements while stressing the importance of not dropping the ball.
“Absolutely,” he responded to a question about whether he will ensure a succession plan is in place for after 2026. “That’s one of the reasons why members said (to me) ‘you can’t just drop the ball and go. You must have a succession plan’. I heard them and we agreed. It is not as if I woke up one morning and said I want a third term. That is far from the truth, I had accepted that I’d made my contribution. But I must now manage the vision for 2030 and put a plan in place (for after I leave in 2026).”
Contrary to the assertion by Ledwaba that Jordaan was ‘a one-man show’, the SAFA president gave the impression of being a consultative leader who takes his cue from his executive.
“I’ve just been elected, and I have not met my NEC members. I can’t really say what we are going to do exactly before I meet them because they can say we never discussed it. So, we will engage, and everyone will give their input before we can pronounce a policy position.”
He does seem to know though that no matter what good he does in the next four years, it will all come to nought should Bafana Bafana not make it to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the Americas (USA, Canada and Mexico) and do well there.
Achieve that and he could well drift into the sunset a local football hero of sorts, more respected perhaps than for his role of having helped secure us the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.