Danny Jordaan won his quest for a place on the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) executive committee when he emerged as one of the kingmakers with a convincing victory yesterday on a day of upset results at the elections in Addis Ababa.
The SA Football Association (Safa) president, of Port Elizabeth, will serve for four years as one of the southern African members.
But he can be considered as a potential future candidate for the Caf leadership after receiving 35 votes to win the poll of three who were chasing two southern African places in the 15-man exco.
Rui Almeida da Costa, of Angola, was also elected with 25 votes‚ one more than Namibia’s Frans Mbidi, while Suketu Patel, of the Seychelles, pulled out before the vote.
“After a long time‚” a smiling Jordaan said as he was congratulated by fellow South Africans Irvin Khoza‚ Raymond Hack and Molefi Oliphant.
Jordaan failed four years ago in his bid to get onto the cabinet of African soccer’s governing body, when he was upset by Madagascar Football Association’s Ahmad Ahmad.
Ahmad is the new leader of African football after ousting long-serving Caf president Issa Hayatou in a stunning upset at the congress in Ethiopia.
Ahmad polled 34-20 in a shock victory that was more about ending Hayatou’s 29-year tenure than a vote for the former teacher and minister of Madagascar.
Jordaan had been one of Ahmad’s backers, as South Africa joined the “rebels” in the build-up to the vote.
For the last years, Jordaan has been one of Hayatou’s advisers, but the relationship changed when Hayatou refused to back Jordaan in the campaign.
The South African is among a sweep of new faces on the exco, after Hayatou’s loyalists were swept from power in bloodletting during the much anticipated elections.
Ahmad had not been considered a worthy candidate just months ago, but momentum built up over the last months and ended in a shock defeat.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino was seen as a strong influence, as he had made no bones about his support for a change at Caf.
Few members foresaw the decisive nature of the victory for Ahmad‚ who now leads an organisation with an increasingly new generation of football association presidents among its members.
Ahmad promised more money to member associations‚ business-class travel and more consultation in a speech he delivered minutes before the vote‚ displaying a touch of charisma previously lacking in his campaign.
South Africa’s ballot was delivered by Lucas Nhlapo‚ the vice-president of Safa, because Jordaan was one of the scrutinisers‚ who counted the ballots.