JOHANNESBURG – Newly-elected South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan has been hailed by football and business people across the globe as the man who can contribute in changing the face of global sport especially on the African continent.
Messages of goodwill have not stopped pouring in from every corner of the universe including Fifa, Caf, Japan, USA and several football federations on the continent wishing the former Fifa 2010 World Cup CEO the of best wishes.
Jordaan, who was one of four Safa vice-presidents until his latest elevation, was given a massive endorsement by the South African football community. He replaces Kirsten Nematandani whose tenure ended last Saturday.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, a personal friend of the new Safa boss, said Jordaan was a soccer man through and through and his expertise would benefit the entire world football family.
Blatter said he was certain that Jordaan’s knowledge, wealth of experience and personal qualities will have an important impact on the development of the beautiful game on the globe.
“You can rely on my personal support and Fifa’s assistance to reach this goal. The doors of the Home of Fifa are open whenever you wish to discuss any relevant issues concerning the game,” said Blatter in a letter to Dr Jordaan.
Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) also praised the new Safa boss on his election victory.
“It is with great joy and excitement that we learned about your election as the President of the South African Football Association. On behalf of the Caf Executive Committee and the entire African Football family, I would like to offer you my warmest congratulations for your election as President of Safa, providing the perfect avenue to steer national and club football to new heights,” said Hayatou.
“Caf is confident that your experience, know-how and leadership will benefit not only South African football but also African football as a whole. We look forward to cementing our partnership and exchanges in order to benefit the youth of our beloved continent. We wish you a very successful tenure in your position and rest assured that you can count on the support of CAF to achieve a very successful mission.”
There is a general sense of excitement among soccer followers following what many thought was a free fall at SAFA during the tenure of the past presidents especially with regards to lack of development structures and failure by Bafana Bafana to win things.
Though it will be a herculean task turning the fortunes of SAFA around, Jordaan is a man who thrives on adversity.
He is considered one of the best administrators of the game on globe and was the face of what FIFA considers the best World Cup ever in 2010.
Jordaan said problems with soccer administrators across the globe including South Africans was talking a lot but do little in implementing their manifestoes. He knows however, that the Safa presidency comes with lots of pitfalls but has vowed to stand up to the challenge. And the first thing he has vowed to undertake is to ‘dirten hands’ and get down to work.
One of his immediate challenges is relationships between South Africa and the continent, starting with Cosafa where, at times, South Africa has been accused to being selfish and only looking after its interest.
These are really interesting times for global soccer and South Africa in particular. A lot is expected of the man who believes in being hands on and make massive and at times radical changes.
Mzansi soccer might never be the same again, with Jordaan in charge.
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