JOHANNESBURG: Danny Jordaan has southern Africa’s endorsement for the FIFA Council despite being trailed by allegations of rape and involvement in corruption to land South Africa the 2010 World Cup.
The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) said after a meeting on Friday that Jordaan will be its preferred candidate when Africa’s 54 full member countries vote at a Confederation of African Football general assembly in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Sept. 30.
Jordaan presided over a successful first World Cup in Africa as head of South Africa’s organising committee, but his reputation has diminished since then. He was accused of involvement in a $10 million bribe South Africa allegedly paid to corrupt FIFA executives to get them to vote for the country’s hosting bid.
Also, last year a South African singer accused Jordaan of raping her in 1993. The singer, Jennifer Ferguson, has opened a criminal case against Jordaan but he has not been charged by police.
Jordaan denies both accusations.
A place on the FIFA Council became open when Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana resigned under allegations of corruption.
Nyantakyi, who also resigned as a CAF vice president and head of the Ghana soccer association, is under investigation by FIFA after he was filmed by undercover reporters allegedly taking a $65,000 cash gift, which is prohibited.
COSAFA, a body made up of 14 countries, endorsed the 67-year-old Jordaan, the president of the South African Football Association, ahead of Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi and Elvis Chetty of Seychelles. Those 14 southern African nations aren’t compelled to vote for Jordaan, however.
Nick Mwendwa of Kenya and Leodegar Tenga of Tanzania, who are from the East African region, have also said they will stand for the FIFA position, which is reserved for a representative from Africa’s English-speaking countries.
In a CAF election last year, Nyantakyi beat Tenga to the place, one of seven set aside for African officials on FIFA’s 37-member top panel.
Jordaan is a member of the CAF executive committee but pulled out of a vote for a place on the FIFA Council last year as speculation swirled that he is one of two senior South African World Cup bid officials accused in a U.S. Department of Justice indictment of organising to pay bribes to former FIFA executive Jack Warner, who was banned from football for life.
The indictment does not name the South African officials.
South Africa acknowledged it paid $10 million from its World Cup budget from FIFA to Warner’s North and Central American football confederation but denied it was a bribe and called it a soccer “legacy” payment.
Jordaan would have to undergo an ethics check to be eligible for the FIFA Council seat.
At Friday’s meeting, COSAFA also put forward its own president, Phillip Chiyangwa of Zimbabwe, as a candidate for the CAF executive committee to replace Kalusha Bwalya. Bwalya was banned from football for two years by FIFA last month over payments he received from the disgraced former Asian football leader Mohammed bin Hammam.
Chiyangwa, a multimillionaire property tycoon renowned for his flashy lifestyle, has had a rapid rise after entering soccer politics only three years ago. He was elected Zimbabwe Football Association president in 2015 and COSAFA head the year after.
Chiyangwa was also instrumental in helping current CAF president Ahmad end the 29-year reign of Issa Hayatou as the boss of African soccer last year.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018