Safa-PSL tiff may cost South African football

2011-01-15 17:28

The ongoing tiff ­between Safa and the PSL might cost South African referees a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. City Press has learnt that the spat has also developed into an embarrassing ­situation where Vodacom League (Second Division) players will ­represent the country at the ­African Nations Championships (Chan) in Sudan next month.

This is after PSL clubs refused to release their players for the ­three-week event as it does not fall ­under the Fifa calendar.

The two soccer bodies have been at loggerheads since the ­outcome of the 2009 Safa ­elections and their relationship has reached an all-time low.

Now with Fifa president Sepp Blatter being adamant that only professional referees will officiate at future World Cups, time is ­running out for South Africa to organise a professional structure.

Two of the 14 South African match officials on the new Fifa list – Jerome Damon and Enock Molefe – officiated at the
2010 World Cup but they will not make it to Brazil if they do not ­belong to a professional body.

The referee structure has been the subject of speculation for some time, with the Semenya ­Commission also recommending such a body, to no avail.

While the PSL endorsed the ­recommendation late last year, some Safa personnel felt that the ­professional body was hijacking their idea as the mother body oversees all the refereeing ­structures in the country.

Safa chief executive Leslie ­Sedibe said they were on course to establish the body, and there was no need to panic. However, he said they first needed to appoint a referees’ director.

“The advert should be out soon (to find) a head of referees who should be able to put this body ­together,” said Sedibe.

On the Chan tournament, ­Sedibe refused to comment on the ­basis that coach Simon Ngomane would release the squad on ­Tuesday. Orlando Pirates development ­director Augusto Palacios has ­labelled the development team as a joke.

“How can you call 30-year-olds a development side?” asked the former Bafana Bafana coach.

“These should be a proper ­development team with players who have a future in Bafana. What are we trying to achieve with this team?”

Palacios said any player who dons the national colours should be worthy of doing so could get into embarassing situations or the country.

“They have never played ­international games let alone ­experienced playing outside the country and we give them such a huge responsibility.

“Where are we going as a country if we continue taking such ­decisions?”

He said the national Under-23 team should be sent to Sudan ­instead as they are potential ­graduates to Bafana.

Debutants South Africa have been paired with Ghana, Zimbabwe and Niger in Group B at the ­championship, which is scheduled to take place from ­February 4 to 25.

Ngomane has lined up a ­warm-up fixture against Sweden at Mbombela Stadium on January 22.

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