Bafana staff face boot due to bungle

2011-10-15 20:43

Two Bafana Bafana administrative staff members could be fired for the bungle that led to the team’s failure to make it to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

City Press has learnt from a highly-placed source that heads will roll after the team played to a goalless draw against Sierra Leone at Mbombela Stadium last Saturday – thus bombing out of the tournament.

“It is clear that there were certain individuals who did not do their job and they might be redeployed as Safa views this blunder in a serious light,” said a source close to the association.

The source said Safa chief executive Robin Petersen has been mandated to scrutinise all the reports to establish what actually led to the misinterpretation of the tournament’s qualifying regulations.

Safa held a management committee meeting on Friday in which they perused the reports.

The committee, however, emerged with a terse statement saying the matter had been put in abeyance until they received “additional information in order to make its final determination”.

To the exasperation of many, the organisation took the easy route by putting a lid on the controversy, saying “there will be no further media engagements on this matter”.

When quizzed, Petersen stuck to the above decision.

This has in turn left many South Africans in the dark as – with a week having passed since the incident – they expected answers from the country’s football-governing body regarding the future of coach Pitso Mosimane and his technical team, among other things.

There was also a growing feeling that the public had been taken for a ride and focus was shifted from the real heart of the matter by Safa lodging an appeal with Caf over the competition rules.

All Petersen could say on Friday was that the committee had requested additional information to make its final determination and will reconvene to conclude the matter.

“The matter has to be taken forward by us and Caf and it is not a media matter. We will have a full media briefing after we have reconvened,” he said.

City Press has also learnt the Safa executive members were divided on the issue of challenging Caf regulations, but Petersen could not comment on the matter.

However, the country’s governing soccer organisation’s president Kirsten Nematandani said he would not be surprised if there were members who were not happy as the decision was instant.

“It is very possible that some members would have been unhappy as they were not consulted, but when you have such a thing you don’t have to call everyone to avoid being found wanting. We needed to take basic initiation because of the time lines,” said Nematandani.

This begs a question about the urgency of the matter given that Caf grants its members 48 hours to lodge complaints or protests.

»?Meanwhile, Safa is planning to stage a four-nations tournament during the Afcon period in January and February to keep Bafana busy as the PSL will be in recess.

A leading marketing company – Megapro – is at the forefront of organising the tournament with Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt who have also failed to qualify, being earmarked to take part.

“However, the tournament will be played on days when the Afcon is not playing to avoid counter-attraction.

“Even the television broadcast will not go to countries that are in the finals as they don’t want to take the limelight away from the Afcon,” said the insider.

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