Late former Uefa boss Johansson never spoke with a forked tongue‚ says PSL chair Khoza

10 June 2019 - 15:54
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza.

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has praised former Uefa president Lennart Johansson as a true gentleman of the game who played an important role in helping to bring the Fifa World Cup to South Africa nine years ago.

Khoza said the Swede‚ who died last week at the age of 89 and led Uefa successfully for 17 years between 1990 to 2007‚ was upright and never spoke in forked tongues.

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“We give our condolences for the passing of Lennart Johansson because he played a very important part when we were campaigning to host the World Cup‚” said Khoza.

“I remember we went to him the first time when we were bidding for the 2006 World Cup and he was honest with us from the beginning and told us that 'I am not going to vote for you because I am voting for Germany'.

“We were not sure about the votes for 2010‚ myself Dr Molefi Oliphant‚ Dr Danny Jordaan and Mato Madlala travelled to Sweden where the ambassador arranged a meeting for us with him.

"When we arrived at his office‚ he said don’t worry about me because you have five votes with me.

"I will never forget him for that because he played a pivotal role for us to host the World Cup in 2010.”

For many years many football administrators have been found on the wrong side of the law and banned‚ but Khoza said Johansson was a honest and principled human being who never spoke in forked tongues.

“He was a true gentleman‚" the Premier Soccer League chairman said.

"He stayed true to his word because before 2006 he was honest with us and said that he had already committed himself to Germany.

"He was upright and no forked tongues.

"When we went to him for the second time he assured us of his five votes because our case was strong in terms of readiness.

"I pay my respects because he was a gentleman of the game and a man of high morale standing.”