I’m a servant of the people

SAFA Vice President Mandla Mazibuko during the press conference<br /><br />© Luigi Bennett/Backpagepix

SAFA Vice President Mandla Mazibuko during the press conference

© Luigi Bennett/Backpagepix

An advocate of development or an agent of development. This is how Safa presidential candidate Mandla Mazibuko defines himself.

“That’s me, a servant of the people,” Mazibuko said. Mazibuko will know by the end of today if he will ascend to the country’s highest football position as he goes up against Danny Jordaan. Fourways, north of Johannesburg, will provide the setting for the Safa elections which are expected to be fierce after former president Kirsten Nematandani failed to get nominated to stand.

Mazibuko was not in the running from the outset, leading the campaign to have PSL and Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza to run for post instead.

But the Safa constitution deprived Khoza the chance to stand, which then opened the door for Mazibuko. Safa’s 29 regions of the 52 countrywide had backed Khoza which Mazibuko claims to have since turned into support for himself.

Grassroots soccer development has been a buzzword across the country. Perhaps, one word used more than any in the local game.

But it has not been used in a positive way, rather that it is local soccer’s Achilles Heel. And Mazibuko said this is one area he prides himself in as president of the SA Schools Football Association (Sasfa), has been able to have addressed.

Ironically, Sasfa has more sponsors than Safa, though it still reports to the mother body. The schools football governing body has McDonald’s, Sanlam, Metropolitan and Nestle as some of its sponsors while Safa has been struggling to hold on to its backers.

Such entries in Mazibuko’s CV should surely put him in good stead to oust Jordaan who is Safa’s chairman for sponsorships. “I have seen many schools travel abroad through Sasfa under my leadership,” he said.

A teacher by profession, Mazibuko said his interest in the position was not about using it as a stepping stone to serve in the world body Fifa something which is alleged to be his opponent’s ambition.

“I have been here as a servant guy and not to use the post as a yardstick to serve somewhere, that’s not me,” he said. “Our problems do not lie with Fifa or Caf, they are within and we need to deal with them.

“I am prepared to be the saviour of our football.” The 53-year-old Mazibuko has been a Safa vice president while president of Sasfa. If selected as Safa president, it will not be the first time he holds such a role as in 1998 he was voted as Ussasa president.

The administrator who hails from Gauteng’s East Rand has been at the forefront of administration of football at Transnet School of Excellence in Kempton Park.

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