Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Relegated AmaZulu cough up R82m to replace Aces in the PSL: another nail in the coffin of South African football

USUTHU! anxious AmaZulu fans
DESPICABLE. DISGRACEFUL. DISASTROUS. Those are the words that come to mind as we sit here tonight, contemplating a footballing world where a relegated club can simply buy their way back in to the top flight after finishing bottom of the table.

The irony for me, of course, is that it's my favourite PSL club AmaZulu who are attempting to burgle their way back in to South Africa's crumbling PSL via the back door, using cash and an utter disregard for what FIFA calls "sporting integrity".

AmaZulu are not one of those recently formed infant clubs like Choppa, sorry Chippa, United, who sack coaches and move cities at the drop of a hat.

The jolly green giants of KwaZulu Natal captured my support when I worked and played in Durban in the early 1980s. The warcry "USUTHU" combined with the glamour of players like Joel Faya and Henry "Shaka Zulu" Cele persuaded me to write to their kit manafacturers to procure the last available xxxl replica shirt just last year.

Article 30 of the NSL constitution clearly states promotion
CANNOT be bought (from @TiisetsoMalepa)
But what they are doing is simply WRONG. To pay Mpumalanga Black Aces R82m (amounts vary) to take their place in the PSL as well as five or six of their players CANNOT BE RIGHT for South African football.

They did it once before of course. In 2007, they bought Dynamos' PSL place after relegation, and in those grim days such ridiculous shenanigans appeared acceptable practice.

But then came the FIFA circular number 1132 from Jerome Valcke, dated December 2007. Under the heading SPORTING INTEGRITY, PRINCIPLES OF PROMOTION AND RELEGATION, the despicable loophole was firmly closed.

Quoting article 2 (e) of the FIFA statutes, Valcke re-iterated the view that promotion and relegation were sacrosanct, that the global association exists to "prevent all methods or practices which might jeopardise the integrity of matches or competitions, or give rise to the abuse of association football."

In Spain, weeks before, Granada had purchased another club's name and identity in order to secure promotion, a move of such sporting injustice that FIFA felt they had to act,

The most important part of the new regulations? "A club's entitlement to take part in a domestic league championship shall depend principally on sporting merit".

It goes on to insist ONLY promotion and relegation ON THE FIELD OF PLAY would be acceptable.

The full link to that FIFA document, signed by the now-embattled Jerome Valcke, can be found HERE http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/circular_1132_en_34078.pdf

But of course, Irvin Khoza has been in charge of our PSL since the early 1990s. Quite how that happened, or how he came to be owner and chairman of Orlando Pirates remains shrouded in mystery. And boy, are we paying for it.

When AmaZulu went down in 16th and last place at the end of last season claiming Free State Stars had "fixed" their salvation, Khoza said nothing. His CEO Brand de Villiers muttered something about an "ongoing investigation" in to Free State Stars' remarkable escape from the lower reaches of the PSL. We've heard nothing since.

Then, when AmaZulu (and relegated bed-fellows Moroka Swallows) were charging about trying to persuade Bloemfontein Celtic, Polokwane City, Platinum Stars and Chippa United to sell their PSL status, Khoza said NOTHING. Neither did sports minister Fikile Mbalula, always so loud and pointless on other sporting subjects, nor Danny Jordaan, the president of the South African Football Association, now unelected mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Throughout the build-up to this craziness, South African football failed to show leadership. Already in trouble over pre-World Cup match-fixing and the infamous $10m African Diaspora Fund, presumably they had other things to talk about. Like how our national football team didn't have enough players to field a team 24 hours before the clash with Mauritius at Dobsonville, or why it took nearly a year to appoint Neil Tovey as our Technical Director though he was always the only viable candidate.

And in to this awful mess, with PSL attendances slipping to record lows and the transfer market crumbling in to a slew of free transfers, bonuses for agents and contract non-renewals, AmaZulu's dreadful attempt at resurrection apparently makes barely a ripple.

But consider this, if the move goes ahead:

1 Will anybody bother to watch the "relegation dog-fight" next season if they know the side struggling to survive can simply buy their way back in?

2 If Spar's best buddy Patrick Sokhela, the AmaZulu owner, has R45m (or more, R82m according to certain reports) to spend, WHY DIDN'T HE BUY A FEW PLAYERS and avoid relegation rather than spending nothing and changing coaches three times as they slipped through the trap door?

3 What of the Aces' fans who loyally supported their club - the only PSL franchise in Mpumalanga - throughout last season? Do they get their money back now they find themselves supporting an NFD club? Will the Mbombela Stadium survive?

4 Turkish coach Muhsin Etrugral, who started pre-season before any other club in the PSL, now finds himself preparing for a season in the PSL without his top players (at least five have been told they must now move to Durban and play for AmaZulu in the PSL next season) is he REALLY going to meekly accept this deal?

5 Given Bafana Bafana's awful form - one point in AFCON2015, two penalty shoot-out failures in CONSAFA and a 0-0 draw against Africa's smallest nation Gambia to kick-off AFCON2017 qualifying - shouldn't we be considering spending money on players and creating better teams rather than buying promotion? 

What AmaZulu are doing amounts to a betrayal of South African football; the easy way out, the last-minute Iron Duke style of doing things. Instead of spending millions on fighting relegation, bringing in better players, offering bigger win bonuses, Sokhela sees fit to sack coaches and splash millions purely for status. It can't be right.

Our only hope, surely, is that FIFA or CAF will step in to make sure such a deal CANNOT happen. Sporting integrity will NOT be ground in to the dust. Sadly, given the state of both our continental and world footballing bodies, I won't be holding my breath.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Destined for the top: A brief history of South Africa's new Technical Director Neil Tovey

NEIL TOVEY in 1981? Skinny teenager. Great shot. Good engine, could get up and down, box to box. Rarely lost possession. Won his first South African League title when he was still a teenager.

Neil Tovey today? South Africa's most qualified coach. Has done the rounds. Has had his share of personal challenges. Still has much to offer.

When he was announced as the South African Football Association's new Technical Director on Saturdayaround 5pm, the old nostalgia kicked in. I first came across Neil on the training ground outside the now-demolished New Kingsmead in Durban 35 years ago.

He was a year younger than me but made me look like a novice at training on a ground which now lies buried beneath the new Moses Mabhida Stadium. I'd generally fall over when he went one-on-one with me. At the time, Neil Tovey was an 19-year-old just pushed in to professional football by a chap called Clive Barker. He made the transition to the paid ranks with barely a blink.

Neil’s big brother Mark was the frightening one back in 1980. He had a big job with Puma, handed out the kit and barked when I lost possession. Though my primary role was as a football writer at the local newspaper, the Natal Mercury, I played for Durban City’s reserves while the blue-and-white hooped first team dominated the early years of non-racial football in South Africa.

My first year in Durban after university was quite a season for City, a team established in the old white NFL by Norman "Silver Fox" Elliott in 1959. Incredibly, smooth manager Butch Webster and his diminutive coach Barker created a side to match the NPSL giants from Soweto and they won Abdul Bhamjee’s newly founded NFL in 1982 (when we used to play football throughout the winter) against all expectations.

Paid peanuts and held together by a huge Scottish defender called Andy Stanton who worked as an advertising executive on week days, the Tovey brothers were integral in Barker’s plans. Sometimes they played one behind the other in central midfield, though both contributed goals. Neil could shoot from distance, Mark was the terrier mopping up. Both could play a mean through ball. A chap called Kevin Mudie got most of the goals.

City, with tiny crowds and no funds, went on to win a second successive title in 1983 before Barker led a mass-break-out to Umlazi’s gold-and-black Bush Bucks in 1984. Under the astute eye of Lawrence “Big Bear” Ngubane, the cunning mixture of City champions with talents like Daniel Ramarutsi and Mlungisi “Prof” Ngubane went on to win the championship in 1986.

By then, older brother Mark was the centre-back, Neil was more of a midfielder. He was tall and slight, and had followed Barker from local amateur club Juventus, based on Durban’s Berea.

But Neil emerged from the shadow of his big brother with aplomb in 1996, when he captained Barker’s Bafana to the African Nations Cup on home soil, a triumph rich in post-democratic fervour and Rainbow Nation unity. Now 34, Tovey was now a veteran, anchoring Kaizer Chiefs and the national squad from centre-back with the captain's armband now an immovable feature.

When he retired in 1999, aged 37, Tovey had played 341 games for Chiefs and 52 for Bafana Bafana. He smoothly transitioned to player-coach in the latter days of his playing career at Chiefs and went on to boss Mamelodi Sundowns, AmaZulu, Hellenic, Mpumalanga Black Aces and, most recently, Thanda Royal Zulu.

In 2011, when I was working in Abu Dhabi, I tried to get Tovey a job in the lucrative (but not particularly strong) United Arab Emirates Pro League, and after a recent health scare (he’s fully recovered) there were fears his greatest days were behind him.

But Saturday’s announcement of Tovey as South Africa’s new Technical Director came as a welcome relief. Since Ephraim Mashaba was handed the Bafana job nearly a year ago, Danny Jordaan had been promising a Technical Director to help Shakes, not known for his tactical acumen and clearly struggling to keep things together.

Tovey and Steve Komphela were the only qualified South Africans to do the job. Danny Jordaan and I agreed on that a year ago. But with Tovey doing television work and Komphela engrossed in pushing Maritzburg United to their highest PSL finish, movement was slow. SAFA’s technical committee chief Nataschia Tshiclas told me week after week: “We are still looking.” I waited week after week, month after month, for Tovey to ride to the rescue as Bafana struggled through AFCON and the COSAFA disaster... culminating in the awful 0-0 home draw against Gambia a fortnight ago.

With various foreign names bandied about, the appointment of Tovey – who scored top marks when taking both his UEFA A and Pro badges - is another welcome local appointment for South African football. I phoned him on Saturday during the Orlando Pirates game and he was quick to re-assure Mashaba: “I won’t be telling Shakes what to do. It’s going to be a tough job. I can't just go in there and tell people what to do.

“There are so many areas for me to look at, I don’t even know if I’ll be going to Mauritius for the second leg of the CHAN qualifier. I don't think that's a priority in my new role.

“I won’t be getting involved that much in the national side. That’s not the job. It’s my task to make things easier for Shakes. To work in the background, on development. My main task, as I see it, is to ensure younger players coming through to the national team.”

SAFA's R65m plan for a new Technical Centre south of Johannesburg will give Tovey a base for his empire; his grasp of modern UEFA techniques will soon begin to percolate through our game. As long as he can work with Mashaba, surely there's a long-awaited improvement on the cards for Bafana Bafana.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Hero or villain? How do we judge Shakes Mashaba after a rousing 3-0 win over mighty Mauritius?

SUPERSHAKES: Bafana coach Mashaba
LOOK! In the sky above Dobsonville! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's SUPERSHAKES! All hail an emphatic 3-0 win over mighty Mauritius hours after half his squad had deserted him. What powers, what magic from our much-maligned Bafana Bafana coach.

But there will be no comic book adulation for Ephraim Mashaba here. Sadly, we cannot abide quite that level of hero-worship after putting three first half goals past the side beaten 7-1 by Ghana a week before.

Yes, Bra Shakes had to cope with a mass withdrawal of players just 48 hours before the game and yes, he had only one training session with this makeshift side before the CHAN qualifier.

But hold on a minute: Bafana played reasonably well with only one dose of Mashaba. Perhaps that's the way to go. Announce the squad a couple of hours before the game and send them out and let them play.

Experienced players who have played under Mashaba say the same as they did when Gordon Igesund was in charge: the training sessions are uninspiring, the team talks are less than adequate. No wonder they wanted to go back to their clubs.

A brief examination of why Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates, Ajax Cape Town and Mamelodi Sundowns pulled 12 players out of the squad reveals a deeper malaise than simple club v country politics.

The root cause of last week’s Bafana crisis lies in Mashaba’s insecurity. He chose to keep his strongest squad together after the awful 0-0 home draw against Group M minnows Gambia in an effort to beat Angola in Tuesday’s friendly.

It worked, of course. After endless goalless minutes, Shaky Bafana won the friendly 2-1, ironically on an own goal, though Ayanda Patosi's cunning lob deserved better than that.

But when the players, already in camp for a week in Durban, moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg, everyone knew the big players were supposed to return to their clubs for pre-season, just as we knew Tokelo Rantie would not turn up for the Gambia game after his wedding.

South African football is guilty of poor communication, mismanagement and a first qualifier which will make qualifying for AFCON 2017 tougher than ever with Cameroon and Mauritania to come. We won’t even mention the scramble to find players on Friday and the fact that three of them turned up without passports and were thus rendered ineligible.

So it’s very hard to get too excited about a 3-0 win over Mauritania. Especially when the coach comes out afterwards and complains that his players “need to learn to unlock teams like this, they must be able to score against a side parking the bus”.

But of course, in order to do that, they have to have leadership and tactical guidance from the coach. And of that, there was little sign after a rousing first half in front of a worryingly empty Dobsonville Stadium, right in the heart of Soweto.

Yes, we can celebrate a rare romp against an island nation currently ranked 176 in the world, and as Mashaba rightly said: “We are not scared of them, we do not fear the away leg in two weeks.”

But throughout a week of crisis and turmoil, Mashaba and his media men have failed to explain the full facts of a crisis which left South Africa without a team barely a day before a match scheduled for months.

We were left with a stony silence from Danny Jordaan – the SAFA president who now doubles up as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay – or PSL chairman Irvin Khoza. Nobody explained why the players returned to their clubs or why the planned use of “fringe players” for CHAN wasn’t implemented until the final hours before Saturday’s game.

In truth, with one point registered at AFCON and first hurdle failures in both the COSAFA Cup and Plate, our game is rapidly sliding backwards. The same old problems are cropping up but most are too scared to explain them away.

Yes, it was great to be 3-0 up at half-time – perhaps even better escape Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s ill-judged hype which we were subjected to twice during coverage of the Angola friendly.

And we can celebrate the emergence of two-goal Siphelele Ntshangase and Marc van Heerden - both still officially NFD players with Black Leopards and AmaZulu - as well as the enduring, unbeaten brilliance of captain Itumeleng Khune.

But the truth is, that 0-0 draw against Gambia at home was the important result for Bafana in a turbulent eight day period. Friendly wins and CHAN qualifiers are of no importance. Vision 2022 was what we were promised, but I see no vision at all. Just a blind scramble for available players at the last minute.

I hate being the Grinch who stole CHANmas, but that simply cannot be the way ahead.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Goalless and distinctly Shaky: we can't blame Mashaba for missed chances but for everything else: AAAAAARGH!

LAUGHABLE: Mashaba and Jordaan
THE smallest nation on the African continent? Gambia. Even smaller than Swaziland. Population? Under two million. They don’t even have a professional football league at home.

But somehow South Africa’s 55 million must live with the frustration of another goalless draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday against the side currently ranked 160 in the world.

And all this after those appalling 0-0 draws with Botswana and Malawi at the COSAFA Cup, which BOTH ended in penalty shoot-out defeats. Guess who was hosting that one. Three home games, no goals. Urgh.

And before that? One point at AFCON 2015 after an impressive qualifying campaign under Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba. We haven’t scored since the first half of our last game in Equatorial Guinea, where South Africa left with the equal-poorest record in the tournament.

Some insect species have lived an etire life-time, born, married, had kids and taken a pension since South Africa last won a competitive football match under the guidance of the man who insisted we would win AFCON 2015 and might still win the World Cup in 2018. Bollocks of course.

Sadly, in his lucid moments, the man now known as Shaky is also forced to repeat the same dull mantra tried endlessly by his predecessors. “We should have scored three or four in the last 15 minutes. If we’d done that, we’d be talking something different after the game.”

Yes Shaky, you’re right. But we’ve been saying that for years now. Mashaba goes a step further: “It’s not just a national team problem, it’s a South African problem, no team in the country scores goals.”

That’s simply not true. We cannot blame Mashaba for the glaring misses from Thabo Matlaba and Thuso Phala on Saturday, but we CAN ask about his selection policy.

After taking a look at the PSL’s top scorers Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars, 14), Lerato Lamola (Bloemfontein Celtic, 13) and Puleng Tlolane (Polokwane City, 11) and NFD goal-getter Phumelela Bhengu (22 for Thanda Royal Zulu), Shaky went in to the opening AFCON 2017 qualifier with a whole new forward line.

Inexplicably, Bonginkosi Ntuli, Vuyisile Wana and Gift Motupa were suddenly elevated to stardom, alongside Tokelo Rantie, who got married last Saturday.

Predictably, Rantie – who played 128 minutes in TOTAL for promoted Bournemouth last season, never turned up. The honeymoon was clearly too good to cut short. Kermit Erasmus, with 15 goals in all competitions for Orlando Pirates this season, went public on twitter to tell us he wasn’t a back up player. And he was on holiday in Holland.

So Mashaba plumped for Thamsanqa Gabuza, who scored three times for Pirates in the Confederations Cup against some outfit from Gabon after the season closed. During the actual PSL season, Gabuza failed to score a league goal while Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Major netted 18 between them.

And when it came to match day, Mashaba promptly ignored the other strikers chosen in the squad and plumped for Gabuza.

It makes no sense to do that. It de-motivates the players picked for the original 23 and leads mischievous journalists to believe some players are only slipped in to the squad to please certain agents.

It’s not just up front that Mashaba dithers. It's all over the field; often he calls up players who haven't even been playing regularly for their clubs, often on the advice of a friendly agent. Oh, and he likes to rotate goalkeepers and captaincy too, insisting: "What does a captain do anyway except toss the coin at the start of the game?"

Just look at the lack of leadership on Saturday, the lack of drive, urgency. But it's more. His substitutions on Saturday, as Gambia ran out of steam in their first competititive match since being banned for U20 age cheating in 2014, were laughable.

He whipped off Gabuza, the only real striker, and shoved on Thuso Phala, who promptly put a glorious chance straight in to the arms of the Gambian goalkeeper from six yards.

In the end, man of the match Thabo Matlaba had the best chances from left back, one well saved, the other fluffed high in to the Durban night sky.

Shaky says international selection has to be about consistency and form. But he leaves FC Twente’s Kamohelo Mokotjo – picked as the central midfielder in the Dutch Ere Divisie’s team of the season – at home, while picking Ayanda Patosi and the “banned” May Mahlangu.

It’s inexplicable. It’s obvious. This is a man who laughs off preparation, insisting he doesn't like spying on future opponents. This is a man who admits he's a motivator, not a tactician. A shouter not a thinker. 

But I've said all this and nobody listened. And the truth is, we have to give Shakes some breaks. SAFA are far too busy with the current FIFA allegations to deal with another Bafana Bafana coaching change. And Dean Furman, Tower Mathoho, Tefu Mashamaite and Rantie made last week pretty difficult.

We keep the faith. Group M has a long way to go. Cameroon and Mauritania will be touge than Gambia. The friendly against Angola could be disastrous. Yet we must believe in our coach and his unusual, often eccentric methods.

But please, Shaky… just this once. Let’s pick our strongest players FROM THE START. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

THE FIFA CORRUPTION SCANDAL: how South Africa has reacted (video from Sky News, SABC and eTV Sunrise)

ODD COUPLE: Jordaan and Blatter
SINCE the initial FIFA arrests in Zurich nearly two weeks ago, the world has been eager for information on just when and where World Cup corruption took place.

Since South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula's emphatic denials, the story has twisted and turned like a dangerous roller coaster at Alton Towers - and Sepp Blatter has resigned despite winning the vote 133-73 for his FIFTH re-election.

Many South Africans have been implicated, though we cannot yet say who "co-conspirators" 15 and 16 are, as featured in the 160 page FIFA indictment. Only SIX of those pages actually touch on South Africa's World Cup bid. But even today, the South African papers are hot on the trail of Danny Jordaan, Dr Irvin Khoza and even former president Thabo Mbeki.

Here are some of the videos I've posted as the story developed. Anybody who follows me on twitter will know the arguments, the accusations of bias... but have a look at these snippets to get a better idea of what is REALLY happening as the FBI burrow in to world football's governing body...

Here's today's Sky News interview, in my Kaizer Chiefs t-shirt!

And here's Thursday's Sky News effort, skyped on a cold, dark night outside a Pretoria restaurant!

This is my telephonic effort for the SABC's Morning Live, I've also done Question Time and Media Monitor for them in the last week:

And here's me with the 160-page FIFA indictment, offering the Sports Minister a hand on eTV Sunrise...

Monday, 1 June 2015

So why were South Africa so keen to give Jack Warner $10m... and where did the "Africa Diaspora" cash REALLY go?

Nobel peace prize winners Desmond Tusu, FW de
Klerk and Nelson Mandela with FIFA president
Sepptic Blatter and then-president Thabo Mbeki
It is no longer a question of DID Jack Warner receive $10m before the 2010 World Cup, it is now a question of WHY.
The simple answer is: Because all four Confederation of African Football "pals" voted for South Africa's rivals Morocco in 2004. Which came as a bit of a surprise to our organising committee, who immediately felt the need to persuade the North Americans of CONCACAF to change their mind about voting for Africa's Arabic far northerners.
When Issa Hayatou, chairman of CAF, led his fellow African FIFA executives to the Morocco camp, panic spread through South Africans who expected a romp to victory after the Charles Dempsey disaster of 2000, which took the 2006 World Cup to Germany by the narrowest of margins.
Sepptic Blatter decreed that Africa would host the 2010 World Cup and South Africa - so successful at hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2003 Cricket World Cup - looked nailed on to win it. Libya's bid crumbled and they were denied a co-hosting deal with Tunisia. Egypt had no support but dark horses Morocco were being pushed by UEFA's Michel Platini and the USA, as a thank you for their anti-terrorism stance.
Jordaan, accused of "not understanding how FIFA works" when he lost the 2006 bid, immediately wheeled out the big guns - Nobel peace prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He flew them off to Granada to meet with Jack Warner, then chairman of CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union. An agreement was forged. A deal was done. Smiles all round. And then the R120m question is: Was it a bribe or not a bribe?
As I first revealed on eTV Sunrise on Friday morning last week, the FIFA indictment explains exactly how and why the now-resigned CONCACAF president winkled 410m out of FIFA for backing South Africa as hosts, despite taking R1m from Morocco to do exactly the same.

Here’s the direct quote from the 160-page indictment – of which just SIX detail the South African problem. There are further details in the document showing a clear paper-trail and the involvement of TWO South Africans, co-conspirators 15 and 16.

“Co-conspirator 1 (believed to be former US FIFA official Chuck Blazer) learned from the defendant Jack Warner that high-ranking officials of FIFA, the South African government and the South African bid committee, including co-conspirator 16, were prepared to arrange for the government of South Africa to pay $10m to CFU (the Caribbean Football Union) to “support the African diaspora.”

Yes, that’s right. The "African diaspora" was used as the cloak to protect what amounted to a blatant bribe. When the money was paid – through FIFA rather than South Africa – Warner used it to pay back his Moroccan contact. Of that there is no doubt. In 2009, when Warner came to South Africa for the Confederations Cup warm-up, President Jacob Zuma told him he was a hero and beamed: "Our nation owes you an eternal debt of gratitude." My how those words must be regretted now.
But Warner got his money. South Africa had their World Cup. Eventually the cash was taken from the much-talked about FIFA World Cup Legacy Fund. Originally intended to amount to $100m, it ended up as $80m, with $10m going towards the building of SAFA house (plus a couple of now-missing buses and Mercedez) next to Soccer City, the other $10m going to pay Warner.

Last time SAFA president Danny Jordaan gave me a copy of that account, it amounted to just over R350m (about $38m these days) with no visible signs of grass roots development that I can find. He claims now that R65m of it will be used to fund a "SAFA Technical Centre" South of Johannesburg, but admits "there are paperwork problems".
That Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula initially laughed off the Warner payment as “a Hollywood movie” is remarkable. All he had to do was read the indictment. Or even ask Danny Jordaan and Irvin Khoza about the “African diaspora” scenario. By Monday, when I appeared on television again, Mbalula had changed his story. He admitted the payment had been made but insisted it was "a procedural matter.' The television company was warned to stop me talking about the FIFA story.
Mbalula – and several top South African football journalists – got stuck in to the US investigation for “disrespecting” South Africa, for demeaning our brilliant World Cup in 2010.
I understand that attitude. But they are missing the point. If Warner and Blazer had taken their three CONCACAF votes to Morroco, the Nelson Mandela dream of a World Cup in Africa may have been derailed. Unlikely, but in those jumpy days of 2004, after the “Dempsey abstention” had robbed us of the 2006 edition, we had to be sure. People were saying the Rainbow Nation had become a criminal nightmare, that violence would erupt. We had to bend the argument back to Madiba's dream. In the end, the vote went to South Africa, 14-10 over Morocco, with Egypt polling no votes.
So, brilliantly, we paid the money to help the “African diaspora” in  the Caribbean, apparently to help young people of African descent to play football in the West Indies. Bizarrely, no money from Africa’s first World Cup ever went to the Confederation of African football to help anybody.

But then, they didn't vote for us, not even our "mate" Ishmael Bhamjee from Botswana, who was wined and dined extensively by SAFA in the build-up to the vote. The brother of disgraced former PSL boss Abdul claimed afterwards he voted for South Africa in the secret ballot, but that was a cop out.
Now the FBI face the tough task of proving the $10m was in fact a bribe rather than a nice chunk of money offering Trinidad and Tobago MP Jack Warner – once the island nation’s Minister of Security – ten million opportunities to help the local footballers who could be traced back to the dark continent.
If that money was NOT used for the right purposes, surely SAFA have the right to demand it back?  $10m would pay neatly for that new Technical Centre  - not to mention the salary of our long-awaited Technical Director with Bafana Bafana suffering the Shakes right now.
As with the pre-World Cup match-fixing allegations, which led to the brief suspension of five SAFA officials two years ago, SAFA are closing ranks and denying alongside Mbalula, with Tokyo Sexwale, Molefi Olifant, Danny Jordaan and Dr Irvin Khoza all singing from the same song sheet. Among their number: the two "co-conspirators" named in the detailed US indictment. And, without question, the mystery men who dealt with master fixer Wilson Raj Perumal in the four friendlies so clearly "bent" before the 2010 World Cup.
But in effect the denials changed to excuses on Sunday, with Jordaan admitting to paying the Caribbean Football Union, through a CONCACAF account run by Warner, $10m, while the new Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay insisted: “I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life.”
Jordaan is now so firmly embroiled in solving political corruption problems in Port Elizabeth, he didn't make the vote which reinstalled Blatter for a fifth term on Friday, a less than expected 133-73 victory over Jordan's Prince Ali.
Jordaan claimed he didn't travel to Switzerland to "cut costs" after warning his ANC councillors in NMB to make less overseas flights. In fact the ANC told him not to go. His Mayoral job is just too important to them. Clearly Jordaan cannot carry on his double life. What if he'd gone to Zurich and been questioned - not by the FBI but by local police - about how he cast his vote for Qatar 2022? Or if they'd asked him how much he got paid for his part in the 2010 World Cup? Enough to pay off the five houses he told me about a week ago?
I believe Jordaan did what he had to to bring the World Cup home for Madiba. He did what FIFA officials have done since Argentina 1978, when a disgusting military junta persuaded the world they were a suitable venue to fix 6-0 victories over Peru.
And I think the FBI will find it hard to prove the $10m was, indeed, a bribe. Mbalula, whose bizarre claims are actually hampering South Africa's defence, would be best served asking what happened to the money rather than denying it was paid.
The only question is: Did we pay Jack Warner to help Caribbean victims of the “African disapora” or not? Can anybody prove otherwise? Is it South Africa's fault he used $1m of it to pay back his Moroccan bribe? Of course not. The bloke has made a fortune from football before his resignation in 2011. So much so that he can now afford to tell Blatter he "shamed the game of football" (he also used the word "disgrace" when interviewed by the German magazine Stern yesterday).
What South Africa cannot afford is THIS: a series of silly denials and accusations from the Sports Minister Mbalula saying "America are trying to make us look corrupt". They aren't. Honestly. Nkandla, Marikana, the arms deal and so many other stories are doing that very effectively in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The Americans just want an explanation for Warner's payment. If they don' get it, we could find the investigation broadening in to a check on the match-fixing allegations - still not dealt with - the tenders for our World Cup stadia - don't ask Bobby Motaung - and post-World Cup bonuses.
And that could be a REAL problem. Best we just don't go there.