Safa gets tough on player releases

2012-01-07 20:16

Safa is getting tough with clubs which refuse to release their players for international matches following the furore and difficulty of getting players released for Bafana Bafana friendly matches this month.

Football’s controlling body wants to nip the club versus country debacle in the bud by amending the club licensing regulations.

Safa’s chairman of legal and constitutional affairs, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, said it was about time that clubs toed the line.

He said his committee would meet next week to amend the rules, which will give Safa more powers to sanction clubs which refuse to release players.

Nonkonyana was incensed by PSL clubs that refused to release players for matches against Equatorial Guinea, Zambia and Ghana.

He said this must come to an end. “We are going to examine club licensing and strengthen the rules and regulations so that it is compulsory for each and every club to be compelled to release players for all the national teams. They will also engage with CAF and Fifa on the matter.

This was a week when the players could have been playing anyway had Bafana qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Coach Pitso Mosimane was forced to take a depleted team to Equatorial Guinea for Friday’s friendly game, which they drew, after Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows refused to release their players.

The under-strength Bafana failed to find the back of the net against the opponents ranked 98 behind them.

The game saw captain Morgan Gould and Mosimane sent off for an early shower.

Games against Ghana and Zambia, who are both camping in the country ahead of the Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, have been downgraded to practice matches and no caps will be awarded.

Bafana will play Zambia on Wednesday at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville and take on Ghana’s Black Stars four days later at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg.

In terms of Fifa rules, clubs are obliged to release players only for Fifa-sanctioned matches but Nonkonyana said this was not fair on national teams.

He said if Bafana were to become a force again on the continent, clubs would have to play ball and give Mosimane maximum support.

Nonkonyana also wants to engage the government on issuing of work permits for foreign coaches, saying some of them did not have the national interests at heart.

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