Rants against the media as Safa press conference descends into chaos

25 June 2022 - 11:28
Safa president Danny Jordaan during the press conference at Sandton Convention Centre on June 24 2022.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Safa president Danny Jordaan during the press conference at Sandton Convention Centre on June 24 2022.

Attendees feeling compelled to answer questions not directed at them was the main reason an SA Football Association (Safa) press conference turned into pandemonium on Friday.

The briefing was aimed at providing the state of readiness for the election and reviewing president Danny Jordaan's term in office. But it came to an abrupt end after Safa Overberg president and Western Cape vice-chair Tankiso Modipa launched a scathing attack on media for posing questions to “my president” Jordaan.

It was held after a Safa congress on Friday at the Sandton Convention Centre ahead of Saturday's elective congress at the same venue. Journalists were invited into the room where several national executive committee (NEC) members were still present.

Jordaan, asked about his decision to run for a third term, invited NEC members in the room to add their thoughts. This resulted in verbal attacks on the fourth estate, and the conference had to be abandoned. 

Modipa said journalists are “not part of football” and should not ask the Safa president “direct and personal questions” and “must focus on journalist things”.

A journalist asked Jordaan, having been Safa president since 2013, what work he thought still needed to be done by him and why he needed three terms to achieve his mandate for SA football.

Jordaan responded he did not nominate himself for the position and that those who had nominated him should perhaps be the ones to answer that question.

“Those are not the decisions of individuals, it’s a decision of the organisation. So, maybe one of them can tell you. It’s not something I have arrived to decide,” Jordaan said.

“No one has a right to decide that ‘I’m now going to be the president’. And this is what I’ve seen, that they will decide who they want as their president and it’s their right to decide.”

At that stage Jordaan pointed to NEC members in the room who he thought might have something to add, though only one of them, David Molwantwa, was seated at the table with him and officially part of the briefing.

“And maybe they should talk about it — Poobalan Govindasamy has his hand up, [Mzimkhulu] Fina, Tankiso [Modipa] and there’s David Molwantwa,” Jordaan said.

Govindasamy pointed out that Safa's election was not a US or Indian election.

“We are fortunate that we live in SA, in Africa and in a democratic environment. Unlike other countries I know, both football-wise, rugby and cricket, we the members choose our leaders. I sit here because the members decided that they must vote for me,” Govindasamy said.

“The leaders you see around here have been chosen by the members of Safa, not by cricket, rugby or netball. I’m one of the members of Safa, I’m part of the grassroots programmes too.

“So when you talk about the president and what do you see as a term, this is not the American elections, this is not the Indian election where a person stands and says, 'I want to lead this organisation for the next four or five years'. This is football.

“Our football members have been nominated and the name of Danny Jordaan is there, the names of Ria Ledwaba and Solly Mohlabeng are there. The members have decided and tomorrow the members will speak. I think the question is misplaced.”

After this rant Govindasamy passed the baton to Modipa.

“President, I think I’m a direct person,” Modipa said.

“President [Jordaan] didn’t want to be nominated, he didn’t ask to be the president of Safa. We decided for the president to stand — he actually didn’t want to stand — because we are the members who are involved in football from the grassroots level to the national level.

“We see the contribution that the president is doing for football and we ask for a third term.

“It’s always unfair for you as the media to ask questions that are direct and personal to our president. It’s our president — we decide. You are not even in football, you are just a journalist, you must deal with the journalists.”

At this stage the press conference descended into chaos.

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