The forthcoming South African FA presidential election could provide a major headache for Sepp Blatter.
By Keir Radnedge
FIFA is worried that the World Cup organisers could take their eye off the ball in the run-up to, and in the aftermath of, the South African FA presidential election at the end of September.
Confusing and upsetting all the world authority’s carefully laid plans is the association’s presidential battle between the local World Cup organising chairman, Ivan Khoza, and the organising chief executive, Danny Jordaan.
Accusations and counter-accusations have been growing ever more bitter – which is exactly what Sepp Blatter feared.
Blatter has entrusted his entire personal credibility as FIFA president in a successful African World Cup next summer. How Khoza and Jordaan could work together in peace and harmony after all the mud which has been thrown around is hard to imagine.
Meanwhile, concerns over the personal security of travelling fans refuse to go away. A bleak and disturbing picture has been set out in travel advice from the UK government’s Foreign Office.
Cautionary notes include the usual concerns about the need for comprehensive health insurance and the importance of booking accommodation in advance because many hotels and guest houses are full already.
The Foreign Office adds: “There is a relatively high level of crime in South African cities, as in all large cities. Passport theft is common so be aware and make sure you keep copies of your passport and documents separately in case they are stolen.” Risks on the road are also highlighted.
“Carjacking is common in cities and around airports, and the local police recommend you do not try to resist if you are attacked,” says the Foreign Office in a paragraph which begins, almost ironically considering what follows: “Driving standards in South Africa differ to the UK. Think carefully about whether you need to drive when abroad, and if you do make sure you are aware of local road laws and take out comprehensive insurance.”
Jordaan has continued to offer reassurances that fans will be safe because the match schedule will pinpoint where they are.
But what about ordinary South Africans, who will lack such logistical protection?
Perhaps SAFA and SALOC (the association and organising committee) should take a leaf out of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code and launch its own “whereabouts” system. Then every Bafana Bafana fan can text Jordaan every day so he will know where they are.
But that is an issue for next June. First Jordaan has Khoza to worry about…while Blatter sits in Zurich worrying about them both.