Safa sells Bafana players a dummy

2010-02-21 10:02

Bafana Bafana players have not been paid their match fees for the international friendly against Zimbabwe played in Durban last month.

City Press has learned that this is due to a mini cash flow crisis at the South African Football Association (Safa) as well as internal politics.

It has also emerged that newly appointed chief executive Leslie ­Sedibe secured a base camp for the team only this week. In a last-minute bid, Sedibe secured Sandton’s Southern Sun Hotel as the team’s base camp for the World Cup and the Sandown High School grounds – across the road from the hotel – for training.

Earlier announcements that the team would be based at Transnet’s Esselen Park School of Excellence in Kempton Park came to naught ­after the previous leadership of Safa failed to sign a contract.

“Bafana Bafana were the first team to qualify for the World Cup when it was announced by Fifa that we will host the tournament on May 15, 2004,” Sedibe said yesterday.

“So when I joined the association last month I assumed that the base camp was a done deal.

“But to my shock, horror and dismay, I only found out last week that the contract with Esselen Park had not been finalised.”

Sedibe confirmed yesterday one of the hitches with Esselen Park was that the place needed renovations costing R16?million to bring it up to the standard required to house Bafana as a base camp.

City Press had earlier learned that Safa received overtures to have the team camp in either Durban or Pietermaritzburg.

We were told that Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira had put his foot down and would have none of that, saying that if Safa chose a coastal base the team would go “but with another coach and not me”.

He argued that his decision to have the base camp in Gauteng was based on scientific reasons related to altitude. Sedibe denied this development when it was put to him.

On the players’ payment for last month’s friendly against Zimbabwe, Sedibe said: “I have instructed the finance director to pay the players and as far as I know the payments are either on the system or should have been made by now.”

When City Press told him yesterday that we had information that the players had still not been paid, Sedibe said: “I will follow this up.”

Our highly placed sources inform us that Safa finance director Grony Hluyo has been dilly-dallying in paying the players their dues after insisting that Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane give him a revised budget for the team’s Durban camp last month.

Speculation is that Hluyo’s resistance could be part of a ploy to destabilise Sedibe and show him up as a failure as some powerful people in football were not pleased with his appointment.

Some staffers are still uncertain about what the future holds for them within the organisation since the new Safa leadership took over following the September 26 elections.

One staff member told City Press Sedibe had announced in a staff meeting they would all have to be re-interviewed for the jobs they held.

Sedibe said yesterday no jobs were on the line and that it was just a total structural review that the ­organisation was undergoing.

Safa issued a statement on Friday announcing that Fifa experts were to visit the country to assist the ­organisation in this process.

“A team of Fifa experts will arrive in South Africa on Friday (February 19) to conduct an organisational ­review for the South African Football Association (Safa),” read the statement.

“The objective of the exercise is to reposition the association to be (in) a position to effectively implement the long-term development plan and optimise its commercial activities.”

Besides Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, Sedibe, members of the NEC and Safa regional structures, the experts will also interact with members of the local media.

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