PSL are hopeful of a decision on NFD final next week

2008-05-01 00:00

There will be no decision on who Maritzburg United will play in the National First Division final, and when it will take place, until the Premier Soccer League is satisfied the bribery case against FC AK has reached its conclusion.

Inland Stream winners FC AK, who were due to play Coastal victors United in the home and away play-off final over the next two weekends, were this week expelled to the Vodacom League after being found guilty of bribery.

Owner Azziz Kara received a 30-year ban from soccer and R500 000 fine.

It is likely Kara will appeal, and the PSL says it will only make a decision on the play-off final once all appeal processes have been concluded.

Kabelo Bosilong, the executive assistant to PSL CEO Kjetil Siem, said yesterday the league is hopeful of concluding the case next week.

"At the moment we are waiting for any reaction from the interested parties, and to see if anyone wants to go to arbitration, before we can make any decision on the NFD final. FC AK have 72 hours to go to arbitration or seven business days to appeal to the Safa Appeals Board.

"With the holidays we cannot do anything until next week, but we are hoping to find out if FC AK want to go to arbitration early next week so we can find an arbitration board."

Siem also has the power to send the matter straight to arbitration should AK want to appeal.

For United coach Ian Palmer and his technical team, meanwhile, the uncertainty over the final, the winners of which will be promoted to the PSL, has been a source of frustration.

Assistant coach Ashwyn Willemse said: "It is a very difficult position to be in and very frustrating because everyone was psyched up to play in the final over the next two weekends, and now we have to start the build-up from scratch again.

"And we are not even sure if we are going to play against Dynamos — we are just assuming that is the case. So even your planning is difficult.

"But we just have to keep the guys focused.

"They know what an important job they have getting this team back to where it belongs in the PSL."

Willemse said United have already been playing friendlies to keep the players sharp since the Coastal Stream ended on April 12, including a match against Supersport United in Gauteng.

The United assistant said, should it be Dynamos in the final, United have some idea what to expect.

"Ian and I played against Dynamos when we were with FC AK last season. We know a bit about them, but not too much. But I think we need to focus on preparing our own team, anyway.

"With Innocent Chikoya as their coach Dynamos are bound to be a well-organised team. They play strongly on their second wave, and get stronger as the game progresses.

"FC AK would have been tough and we don’t expect Dynamos to be any easier."

Dynamos are owned by Pat Malabela, who sold the team’s PSL franchise to AmaZulu two seasons ago before buying back into the first division.

They have several players with PSL experience including ex-Kaizer Chiefs striker Louis Agyemang, Joseph Mthombeni (former Mamelodi Sundowns), Malawian goalkeeper Swadick Sanudi (Jomo Cosmos), veteran defender Rodney Thobejane and ex-Black Leopards full-back Allan Kamanga.

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