Football: Cosafa presidential election-Patel gets second term in office


PATEL … re-elected Cosafa presidentUnder no illusions about the challenges he faced in his second term as Cosafa president but reckoned the support pledged by the member associations would make his tenure a bigger success, Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) chairman Patel was re-elected unopposed on Friday in Gaborone, Botswana. This was after South African Football Association (Safa) vice-president Jordaan withdrew just as voting was due to start.

Boss of the well-known Pool & Patel chartered accountant firm, Patel is also the number two in football management in Africa after being voted as Confederation of African Football (Caf) first vice-president earlier this year. He also sits on the Fédération internationale de football association (Fifa) organising committee and Fifa Goal Bureau.

According to the Herald Online, Patel was calmly confident ahead of the election to choose a new leader for the region on Friday, while Jordaan had realised, after the last minute jockeying for votes, that his chances of winning had severely diminished.

Sport24 website writes that provisional estimates suggested Jordaan, who was a key figure in organising the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, but has had his attempts to raise his profile globally stifled since then, would get only around four votes from the 14 members that make up Cosafa.

The website adds it is believed he (Jordaan) took his name out of the hat rather than go through the embarrassment of another defeat having been left in last place in voting for a place on the Caf executive committee at the Caf congress in Sudan in February.

Even before the poll, some critics had written that they were worried South African football administrator Jordaan is only interested is using Cosafa to go to the Fifa executive. “It's all about himself,” one football critic added.

Like Patel, Salemane Phafane from Lesotho remains Cosafa vice-president after standing unopposed for re-election to his role.
David Fani (Botswana), Walter Nyamilandu Manda (Malawi), John Muinjo (Namibia), Timothy Shongwe (Swaziland) and Faizel Sidaet (Mozambique) were elected to the positions on the Cosafa executive committee.

Fani is the only new recruit, having taken over from Zimbabwe’s Wellington Nyatanga.
Speaking to the press in Gaborone after his re-election, Patel pledged to spearhead the growth of the grassroots football in the region and also make the Cosafa voice heard in the Caf corridors of power.

"At the moment our priority is to get the Senior Challenge Cup going and now that the litigation that we faced is behind us we think we can quickly do that. Once we have it back with sponsorship it can become the bouquet of everything.

"The arrangement we have made with zone VI to have its football competition being run by Cosafa and make it an under-17 tournament instead of under-20 as has been the case will not only improve the quality of the game but will guarantee that our young boys can compete against each other every two years,'' Patel said.

He indicated that his first port of call in trying to heal the divisions in the region would be to visit South Africa and meet the Safa leadership.

"I know that elections are divisive but I hope this will be put behind us as things cool down. I think the mere fact that people have re-elected me shows the confidence they have and that there is solidarity.

"I think this (the re-election) is a trust that people have in me and I will do my best for them. In some things we will succeed and we will fail in others, but you have to involve everyone and I will continue to give it my best.

"I think the differences we may have in Cosafa have been blown out of proportion. The fact that we have differences doesn't mean we are not united. In any big family there can be differences of opinion but you remain a family.

"I think we should also now look at how we can have more teams from the region qualifying for the African Cup of Nations and after the World Cup but I cannot go to each and every country and try to prescribe a development programme for them,'' Patel said.


Jordaan withdrew candidacy “in the interests of unity"

Danny Jordaan withdrew his candidacy for the post of Cosafa president "in the interests of unity", South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani has said.

He adds Jordaan had six of the 14 available votes "completely assured", with four more verbally committed to back him. But the behaviour of some members of the organisation in the build-up to the vote meant that Safa decided Jordaan should not stand.

"During the proceedings leading to the elections, there were some members who expressed gratuitously hostile and aggressive attitudes against South Africa," adds the Safa boss.

"On this basis the South African delegation decided that even if he was elected, Jordaan would face a divided Cosafa, and the nature of the changes he wanted to bring about would require a strong mandate from the electorate.

"In the interests of unity, therefore, Safa decided to withdraw its candidate from the race, but at the same time expressed concerns about the process and attitudes demonstrated by a minority of two.

He did not identify the two parties concerned.
"We cannot allow our leadership to be treated in a dismissive manner", concludes Mr Nematandani.
Meanwhile, in another development, the majority of the representatives of the 14-member Cosafa were surprised and disappointed following threats by Safa president Nematandani that his association would review its further involvement in Cosafa following the failure by Jordaan to land the top post.

Newspaper reports say Safa, who had nominated Jordaan, had unsuccessfully sought an adjournment of the meeting just as the members were preparing to vote. But the auditorium rejected the bid after which the South Africans were excused from the meeting in order to "consult''.

They then returned after a brief spell with Nematandani announcing they were withdrawing their nomination for Jordaan, which left the members to vote for and endorse Patel.

Still according to reports, that was not before the Safa president drew the ire of his counterparts when threatening to withdraw their membership from the regional body.

Compiled by G. G.

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