Soccer war casualties

2009-10-31 15:08

FOOTBALL heavyweights Kaizer Motaung and Patrice Motsepe have been caught in the middle of the turf battle between the South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

This week Safa wrote a letter to the Kaizer Chiefs boss asking him to explain his media utterances that he did not recognise the new Safa leadership, while the PSL wrote an angry letter to Motsepe accusing his club of having transgressed the league’s code of conduct.

“Motaung must explain his utterances or we will recall him,” said a high-ranking Safa official who did not want to be named.

“If he does not recognise the Safa leadership, then he must do the honourable thing and resign from the LOC (SA 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee) as it is a ­Safa structure.”

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani yesterday confirmed that his organisation had written the letter to Motaung.

“It is about his utterances, but I am not sure whether the letter has been dispatched to him. You must find out from the CEO (Raymond Hack),” he said.

Yesterday Motaung said he had received no letter from Safa.

PSL pro-forma prosecutor Zola Majvu confirmed that a letter had been sent to Sundowns, but he did not elaborate on the contents.

Sundowns general manager Kenneth Makhanya acknowledged receipt of the letter, but said the club’s position on the matter had not changed.

Downs tabled a motion to endorse the Safa elections at last week’s PSL board of governors (BoG) meeting and also posted a statement on their website distancing themselves from the league’s decision to seek legal opinion over the validity of the polls.

Makhanya said they would respond within five days, as required by the league.

Sundowns argue that the board’s decision was not unanimous as was reported, because they challenged it and were seconded by Black Leopards boss David Thidiela.

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono has also come out in support of the Nematandani-led leadership.

Sono was this week also called to appear before the league’s disciplinary committee, but for an unrelated matter.

The league argues that Motaung was the only member allowed to make statements after last week’s meeting.

The PSL has not sent its members to serve on the new executive committee since the September elections, but chairman Irvin Khoza has sent apologies and is said to have addressed Nematandani as Safa president on several occasions including Friday’s gathering at the Union Buildings in Tshwane with Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe.

) Meanwhile, Safa scored yet another blow when the on-and-off, much-talked-about Peace Cup was definitely called off this week.

Cape Town City Council’s media spokesperson, Kylie Hatton, confirmed that the event which was to take place later this month was ­cancelled by the Premier’s Co-ordinating Forum on Friday.

The cancellation of the eight-team tournament featuring Boca Juniors (Argentina), Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Chelsea (England) and Stabek (Norway) and local sides Orlando Pirates, Santos, Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United, has led to an ugly spat between organisers and Safa.

Ajax Cape Town boss John Comitis, who said the idea was his and Goolam Ali’s brainchild, has labelled Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana as “a non-progressive who hampers development in the country”.

This after Nonkonyana stated that the contest would not go ahead without Safa’s approval.

Comitis said Nonkonyana embarrassed himself and other soccer officials during the recent visit to Norway.

“He did not only embarrass us but himself too when he told the Norway Football Federation that the tournament would not take place,” fumed Comitis.

He said while the PSL supported the idea, it was not their event, adding that it would have been a perfect platform to showcase the country’s talent on the international market.

An unrepentant Nonkonyana retorted: “As far as we are concerned there is no Peace Cup and we are not going to be undermined by some members of the league for their own personal gain. International matches fall under the jurisdiction of Safa.”

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