PSL chief hits back at claim by U23 coach

2011-06-17 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Premier Soccer League chairperson Irvin Khoza has reacted angrily to a statement that suggests the league is not supportive of the national teams.

This comes after South Africa under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba vented his anger when some clubs, specifically Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates, apparently refused to send some of their players to a national camp in Rustenburg.

Mashaba’s boys are preparing for the 2012 London Olympics qualifier second-round second leg against Benin, scheduled for Sunday.

Amaglug-glug must beat the West Africans at least 2-0 to ensure progress to the next round, but already the team is depleted owing to teams’ refusals to send their players to camp, which has forced Mashaba to make late changes.

Pirates allegedly refused to send Andile Jali and Ajax Cape Town are accused of holding on to Thulani Serero and Thulani Hlatshwayo as the duo are apparently carrying injuries.

Khoza has hit back after Mashaba’s claims and insists the PSL is supportive of the country’s national teams at all levels.

“The PSL has been more supportive of the national teams,” he said.

“Firstly we had to condense our league to prepare Bafana Bafana for the World Cup and when the senior national team wanted more days to prepare for the Egypt game we did exactly that …

“Now we are surprised to be labelled the people who don’t have the national interest at heart, just all of a sudden,” the PSL chief lamented.

“I’m surprised by the people who say we are not supporting the national teams, but I think we deserve better, and appreciation for all the efforts we have made to try to assist the national teams.”

There have been suggestions that the trio of Jali, Serero and Hlatshwayo, who were pulled out of the squad by their respective teams, are not really injured.

It has since been confirmed that Serero is indeed battling a groin injury.

“It is the same injury that robbed me of a chance to travel with Bafana to Egypt and it is the same injury that troubled me towards the end of the PSL season,” he revealed.

“So I can confirm to you that I am injured. I will never say no to playing for the national team,” the PSL player of the season added.

Jali declined to comment on the matter.

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