Safa lashes out at CAF over Pirates’ treatment in DRC

2013-05-07 11:21

The SA Football Association (Safa) has lashed out at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) about the treatment of Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in their African Champions League return-leg clash on Sunday.

Pirates lost 1-0 to TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, but advanced to the group stages of the competition with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

“It was a terrifying experience. Our lives were at risk,” Safa’s head of delegation for the match and national executive committee (NEC) member Elvis Shishana said today.

Shishana said his cellphone was grabbed from him by one of the fans. The security officers at the stadium failed to assist, and his phone was returned only after he threatened to report the matter to Caf.

An SABC crew, which was to broadcast the match live, was prevented from doing so, with the organisers claiming there was no permission to televise the match.

The national broadcaster said yesterday two of its crew were arrested. A journalist’s cellphone sim card was confiscated.

The two crew members were later released by the police and returned home.

“It was very clear, from the beginning, that they had an agenda, hence they did not want anyone to record the match,” said Shishana.

“It is difficult to explain why millions of fans were denied a chance to watch this match.

“The officiating was terrible, and, had we lost, we would have been called cry babies, but now that we are through to the next round we must complain to Caf.”

Despite the experience, Shishana said Pirates, the only South African team to have won the Champions League, had done well to progress.

“The boys played as though their lives depended on the outcome.

“They showed real guts out there. I am proud of them for hanging on under such difficult circumstances.

“We are also glad we are back home in one piece, but I must repeat that it was a scary situation and our lives were really in danger.”

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