Embarrassing: SA's only AFCON 2019 hosting vote came from ... SA!

Cape Town - Better a red face than a black heart, suggests a wise old Portuguese proverb.

Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that the faces of the SAFA administration must now be a beetroot red after the devastating and embarrassing 16-1 CAF executive voting defeat at the hands of Egypt in the belated choice to stage this year's Africa Cup of Nations in place of deposed Cameroon, who were recently ruled by the Confederation's ruling body not to have the necessary venues and allied facilities for the extended 24-nation tournament.

And burying SAFA's beetroot red face in the mud even further is the fact that the only vote cast in favour of  South Africa was that of president Danny Jordaan, with one abstention completing the lop-sided voting procedure.

Jordaan himself has blamed a political conspiracy for the debacle, claiming North African countries enjoy a stranglehold on CAF affairs.

But this is a lame excuse indeed in spite of the North African countries strong hand in CAF matters, when you consider that no East, West or even Southern African country apart from South Africa itself, cast a vote in favour of Jordaan's SAFA regime.

More to the point as CAF president Ahmad Ahmad explained was the fact that in view of the urgent time factor involved, the voting reflected the fact that the winners in the two-horse race between Egypt and South Africa needed to supply firm guarantees and evidence of its ability to stage the tournament, which not only extended to match facilities  and all other allied facilities, but also a firm commitment from the governments in question to support the event financially and in all other respects as well.

Egypt satisfied these conditions, while a cash-strapped SAFA, who showed a R18 million loss in the immediate past financial year, blithely relied heavily for support on the streamlined stadiums that had been utilised during the hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2010 - with no firm assurances at government level for a tournament that could require an expenditure of R150 million or more.

Not for the first time, the prevailing egos of SAFA got the better of them.

Jordaan at one point insisted - incorrectly - that CAF had asked them to take over as the replacement for Cameroon and South Africa's controlling body indiscreetly placed the cart in front of the horse instead of vice versa.

And in the circumstances, SAFA might have been better off and more discreet not joining the race for hosting at all as had early favourites Morocco and most other African countries who were patently aware of the enormity of the prevailing task at such short notice.

In a practical sense after SAFA's humiliation, Bafana Bafana, who were caught in the middle of CAF's hosting mish-mash, will now still have to avoid defeat in their final AFCON qualifying match against Libya in March in order to qualify for Egypt. Had South Africa somehow been chosen to host the tournament, Bafana would have gained automatic qualification. 

Meanwhile grains of comfort for South African soccer during the SAFA morass have been provided at women's level, with notable achievements by Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, who has been chosen "African Women's Coach of the Year" and Banyana's enterprising Thembi Kgatlana, who has not only been named "African Women's Player of the Year", but has also completed a unique double as the recipient of the "Goal of the Year" award open to both men and women!