The battle for South African football's future
To say that the chairman of South Africa's World Cup Organising Committee (OC), Irvin Khoza, and his CEO, Danny Jordaan, do not get along is a bit like saying John Terry and Wayne Bridge aren't the best of friends.
And last week, one of the World Cup's most enthralling sub-plots - a tale of power, greed, ambition, political connections and long-established rivalry - lit up like an exploding arms depot. The intrigue could give John Le Carre a run for his money.
On Tuesday, Khoza said he was desperate for South Africa to avoid unwanted World Cup publicity. But his plea was already too late, for the front page headlines two days earlier had screamed 'IRON DUKE PLOTS MAJOR SOCCER COUP', as allegations of Machiavellian subterfuge followed.
Khoza, known as the 'Iron Duke' due to his controversial past, was supposedly trying to engineer the removal of South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani by lobbying various parties, including government officials, to initiate a vote of no-confidence in him.
Khoza and Jordaan answer questions at a 2010 World Cup news conference in Cape Town
Which meant that Khoza, the very man tasked with chairing South Africa's World Cup organisation, had to publicly deny he was secretly plotting to destabilise South African football.
So how had it come to that? The answer could go back a decade or three, but matters really came to a head last September when Khoza, 62, and Jordaan, 58, went head-to-head for the Safa presidency.
Splitting the footballing fraternity in two, the elections were fiercely contested because the prize was so great - control of South African football when the post-World Cup income, estimated to be in excess of US$150m, started to roll in.
Standing in one corner was Jordaan, the former anti-apartheid activist, one-time MP who had served under Nelson Mandela and now a football administrator who has been working for 16 years to make South Africa's once-unlikely World Cup hosting dream a reality.
In the other was super-heavyweight Khoza, whose influence in the local game extends very far and very wide. Not only president of super-popular Orlando Pirates, he also chairs the local Premier Soccer League.
With the battle for South African football's future pitching the game's most powerful figures against one another, Fifa was so concerned by the prospective fall-out and resulting impact upon the World Cup that it asked Safa to postpone the elections. The repeated requests were in vain.
Instead, the intensity of the elections was such that all the delegates' and journalists' cars - including my own - were checked for firearms on their way in. Wembley Stadium this definitely was not, with more than 100 police and a couple of riot vans in attendance at the hotel complex where the elections were taking place.
Yet there were three, not just two, candidates that day, with Nematandani, Safa's then head of refereeing but a man even the local media barely knew, completing the field.
And, with the presence of riot police having set the tone, it was a day of surprises.
Khoza stormed out of the complex before the elections, later citing electoral irregularities. As if that wasn't enough, Jordaan also withdrew after his eligibility to stand was questioned by Khoza and his minions.
But a little scratching at the surface revealed a different story. For Nematandani was effectively Jordaan's man, both men being part of a group - the Football Transformation Forum - founded to win control of Safa.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani with the official match ball for the 2010 World Cup
So there's a widely-held belief, an open secret you could say, that Jordaan will be rejoining Safa, where he was once CEO, once the World Cup is over.
The only problem? The fact that Khoza's not going to go down without a fight.
After September's elections, the endless media speculation about Khoza's intent to issue a legal challenge prompted state president Jacob Zuma to convene a meeting where he ordered all three candidates to leave any election squabbles until after the World Cup.
Thankfully for Zuma's authority, this happened before it was revealed he had fathered a child with Khoza's daughter, a story that broke less than a month after the president married for the fifth time - a wedding the 'Iron Duke', Zuma's long-time friend, attended.
"I'm not going to talk about the issue of the child but I am addressing a letter to the president about issues of national interest - the World Cup," Khoza said last week. "There must be this modicum of peace before the World Cup."
Underlining the divide - while simultaneously denying it existed - Safa held its own news conference hours later in order to clarify that its attentions had been focused on the World Cup and not on making moves to remove Khoza from the OC, as the latter's camp had claimed.
In short, it's messy - and intriguingly so.
And the accusations go on, with both camps accusing the other of wanting to use the Safa presidency to earn a place on Fifa's Executive Committee (although Fifa may want to run a mile from both come 12 July). Khoza, we are told, also has designs on ruling the Confederation of African Football as well.
But despite the enmity, World Cup organisation is seemingly going well, Khoza and Jordaan showing they can function together despite their personal differences.
And there is another area where they share common ground. "This sort of nonsense does not make us (South Africa) look good," Jordaan told reporters last week, echoing Khoza's comments.
Once the World Cup has been held aloft and the planet's eyes are no longer focused in this direction, the gloves will really come off in this unseemly spat for control of South African football.