Safa declares war on agents

2014-04-20 15:00

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s exoneration from any wrongdoing on Thursday has opened up a new war ­between the SA Football Association (Safa) and soccer agents.

The coach was declared innocent by a task team led by Advocate Norman Arendse as no players came out to testify at the hearing.

The only witnesses were team manager Barney Kujane, head of delegation Gerald Don, CEO Dennis Mumble,

assistant coach Serame Letsoaka and Igesund himself. Apparently, none of them had first-hand information on the allegations.

The committee found “there was no basis to substantiate the allegations that he instigated players to demand ­bonuses during the African Nations Championship in January”.

Again, there was no basis that player agents had exerted undue influence over the ­selection of the players for matches.

Arendse said they did not have powers to subpoena anyone.

“We had no powers to subpoena ­anyone. This was not a court of law. It was not a court so we couldn’t grill ­people,” he said.

But one of the recommendations read by Arendse at the press conference to announce the outcome has set Safa up against soccer agents.

They saw red after hearing the recommendation that a national team coach ought not to have a player’s agent as his own.?They are also unhappy that agents will not be allowed in the team hotel while the national team is in camp.

“I will remain Gordon’s agent until he decides otherwise, whether they like it or not,” said Prosport International CEO Mike Makaab.

“I respect Safa, but this is an incredibly strange decision. It is a question of integrity and it is pretty insulting. If you doubt somebody’s integrity then don’t employ him.”

Tim ­Sukazi of QT Sports said: “This is bizarre? How on earth would they come up with such recommendations? Coaches, just like players, need agents and even the best in the world have agents.”

Glyn Binkin, another agent, was also surprised by the recommendation, saying it shows lack of trust from Safa’s side.

“There is nowhere in the world where they ban agents. When they need players, they are quick to phone us to talk to them but they come up with such ­recommendations, it’s a distrust,” said Binkin.

Arendse said he was satisfied that the committee had enough evidence to ­acquit Igesund.

“Some players spoke to me and indicated they preferred to speak off the record and they do not want to be named. But the information they gave to me which I shared with the task team was consistent with the information from those who did appear.”

But according to Arendse, the investigation revealed a lot more. He did not elaborate further.

Approached for comment on Friday, Igesund said: “I do not want to talk about that, please. Let us talk about the ­Metropolitan Cup.”

Although Safa president Danny ­Jordaan said they were happy that ­Igesund’s integrity was intact, he added there would be an evaluation of his work after the tour of Australia and New Zealand next month.

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