End of the road for Kirsten

Kirsten Nematandani. Picture x© Luigi Bennett/Backpagepix

Kirsten Nematandani. Picture x© Luigi Bennett/Backpagepix

A copy of Marko Saravanja’s “Secrets of Success” lay on the coffee table of the outgoing Safa president Kirsten Nematandani as he spoke about his four-year tenure leading the association.

If a book was to be written about the association’s flagship brand, Bafana Bafana, documenting their run in the past four years, success wouldn’t feature.

Instead embarrassments – the first host nation to crash out of the group stages of the World Cup and failing to read the rules which resulted in celebrating qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations that never was – and failure, having missed qualifying for two Afcons and a World Cup, would feature prominently.

“If that is how people should be measured (results of the senior national team) then it means I didn’t succeed during my time,” Nematandani said. “But I don’t think that’s the case.

“If I was the one playing, it would be different but it’s not. The whole executive weren’t the ones playing.” This afternoon a new executive will come into power, with a new president elected from Danny Jordaan and Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko.

Despite availing himself early in the race, Nematandani was not nominated by any region to serve for a second term. A decision showing a clear indication of what they thought of his tenure.

Nematandani believes the decision not to elect him goes deeper than that. “You must understand here that we are sitting with groups,” he said.

“I couldn’t be able to continue sitting in groups. My mission was very clear. I want to lead a united Safa, not a divided Safa. “The pain of leading a divided Safa is not an easy one. Besides you lose a lot out of a divided association because you need all of them.

“I have been clear, I am working towards a united Safa, but as you know elections are very divisive. As a president I have to be seen embracing all of them. “That is why I am in the middle with no group.”

From today a new chapter in the association will be written in either Mazibuko or Jordaan’s ink, just as Nematandani will be starting a new chapter in his life. One without the title of Safa president.

He offered some advice for the man who will take over the post, including keeping coach Gordon Igesund. “This is about relationships,” he said.

“Build a strong relationship with the league, which is a member, but the league must also play its part of understanding that we have a national agenda ahead of us. Maintain that tactical Masterplan. It is our future.”

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