Learn from ANC’s er­rors, says Tokyo

Sunday Times - - Sport | Soccer - By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS

● Tokyo Sexwale has called on the South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) to learn from the mis­takes of the African Na­tional Con­gress (ANC).

Sexwale has been can­vassed by the Na­tional Foot­ball Con­sul­ta­tive Fo­rum (NFCF) to be their can­di­date to con­test the Safa pres­i­dency. The NFCF con­ducted a poll ask­ing the pub­lic to se­lect a per­son they pre­ferred to be Safa pres­i­dent.

NFCF claim Sexwale emerged as an over­whelm­ing favourite.

How­ever, Sexwale is yet to ac­cept run­ning for the po­si­tion at the elec­tion which Safa will hold at its con­gress on March 24.

“Learn from the ANC. Sona is can­celled. It has never hap­pened. The top six are talk­ing dif­fer­ent lan­guages. We should not open up the old wounds,” said Sexwale.

“My ap­peal is that South African foot­ball must first unite. The last thing I’d like to do is per­pet­u­ate the di­vi­sions that ex­ist in South African foot­ball. I’ll not help them to di­vide them­selves.”

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, a former Safa vice-pres­i­dent who was ex­pelled from the foot­ball con­trol­ling body for com­ments he made about Bafana Bafana coach Gor­don Ige­sund, is per­suad­ing Sexwale to stand.

Sexwale says he was ap­pointed spe­cial en­voy to Fifa pres­i­dent Gio­vanni In­fantino and Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (Caf) head Ahmed Ahmed this week.

Rather than declar­ing his avail­abil­ity, which will be sub­ject to el­i­gi­bil­ity, Sexwale pro­jected him­self as a pro­moter of unity.

“It is wrong to have out­casts. Foot­ball is not about per­ma­nent pur­ga­tory. I’ve pro­moted unity at Fifa, when I with­drew from the pres­i­den­tial race.

“I’ve served at Har­vard (Fifa), Ox­ford (Caf) and Fort Hare (Safa). It would be a mis­nomer on the part of the cham­pion of unity glob­ally [and] yet at home you pro­mote fac­tions. I can’t af­ford to see di­vi­sion in my coun­try.”

He said his com­mit­ment and sup­port for South African foot­ball spoke for it­self. Sexwale is former spon­sor of the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion, the sec­ond tier of foot­ball in the coun­try, and was a mem­ber of the 2010 Bid and Lo­cal Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tees.

“With­out any hes­i­ta­tion I’m pre­pared to con­tinue play­ing a role in South African foot­ball as I’ve done in the past.”

Asked what he saw as prob­lems at Safa, Sexwale said: “I and com­rade Danny were in Brazil. It was painful to see no South African in the [2014] World Cup. Peo­ple are singing and there is no Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

“The next World Cup is com­ing [in Rus­sia in June]. We won’t be there. This foot­ball needs change. Safa was our last hope. It was our ANC. If you say not qual­i­fy­ing for the World Cup is good, don’t change. For Nonkonyana to say they are not on speak­ing terms but they want to run foot­ball. If you can’t talk to one an­other but you want to play. No one man can do it.”

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