Wanderers fail to buy their way to NFD

2010-07-26 00:00

AFRICAN Wanderers’ attempt to buy a National First Division franchise have fallen through with Bay United’s owners backtracking on a previous agreement to sell their club’s status to the KwaZulu-Natal team.

The sad news for Wanderers executives and their fans broke on Friday when the final stages of sealing the deal were hours away from completion in the Premier Soccer League’s offices.

African Wanderers chairman Zibuse Mlaba told The Witness that Bay United officials received insurmountable political pressure from the Eastern Cape provincial government not to allow the team’s NFD franchise to be moved from Port Elizabeth, owing to the construction for the World Cup of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

This made United’s move impossible and a second option for Wanderers was to relocate to Port Elizabeth, where they would have had to play under the name Bay United, and nothing else.

As matters stand, Wanderers, currently competing in the lower amateur leagues, have had their hopes of competing in the NFD in the coming season dashed, unless favourable developments emerge from the PSL Board of Governors meeting on August 29.

“We saw it as a futile exercise to conclude this deal, and decided, on failing to buy a First Division franchise, to rather stick to competing in the Vodacom League,” Mlaba said.

Mlaba said that the South African Football Players Union warned him that if Wanderers were to buy Bay United, the KZN team would face a R1,3 million lawsuit filed against the club by the United players for unpaid salaries.

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