South African top football administrator, Danny Jordan, was beaten hands down for the Presidency of the Council for Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) by Suketu Patel of Seychelles.
The elections that were held in Gaborone on Friday saw Jordan withdrawing just moments before the elections began. That left the incumbent, Patel, unopposed for the position.
He will serve for another five years.
Long before the elections, the man who is credited with successfully lobbying for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup was seen as the firm favourite but lost it towards the end.
Of the 14 member countries that make up COSAFA, Jordan is reported to have managed to hold on to only three of them and was forced to withdraw to avoid embarrassment.
As is always the norm with international football elections, lobbying was reported to be very dirty and allegations of brown envelops exchanging hands were rampant.
The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF)’s top brass is reported to have been at the forefront to decampaign Jordan because he is seen as a potential threat.
Just like in the past elections in 2006, CAF’s top brass, which is predominantly from French-speaking countries, wanted someone from a French speaking country so that they can call the shots in the region.
Patel was then the ideal candidate for them.
Currently, there is a feeling that the CAF leadership has overstayed in power and fresh brains are needed and had Jordan won, he was seen as the man who could go all the way up and challenge CAF president, Issa Hayatou, in future.
Hayatou has been in power for 23 years and it is felt he is doing less to address problems bedeviling African football.
One football administrator who preferred anonymity and had his country put his weight behind Jordan was very disappointed, saying that Southern Africa should not let West African people dictate on them.
“Lets’ be honest; there is CECAFA region in East Africa and WAFU region in West Africa. They always do their things without interference of COSAFA region. But why is it that we in the COSAFA region let these people trample upon us. We have to stand up for this region and eventually take control of Africa football. A lot of injustices have been done for this region for a very long time and we have to stand up,” he said.
Jordan, on the other hand, would not talk about why he decided to withdraw, saying he will make a statement at a later date.
After successfully defending his seat, an ecstatic Patel said the region has shown confidence in him by giving him another five-year mandate. He said it shows that the COSAFA region is more united than before and would be looking forward to restore its image.
He said they are on the verge of securing a sponsorship for the now defunct senior COSAFA challenge that has not been played for two years now.