Afcon: ‘Safa on wild goose chase’

2011-10-12 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The South African Football Association (Safa) is on a wild goose chase in protesting against the elimination of Bafana Bafana from next year’s African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament, Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung said.

Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker also criticised Safa over the team’s elimination, after a goalless qualifying round draw against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Motaung said, “I’m afraid Safa are way off the mark in stating that the deciding factor in such cases must be goal difference.

“Safa are entitled to make their own rules for their own events … those presently tabulated have been in force for a number of years. Safa should have been aware of this.”

Safa should face the facts of its own bungling, Motaung said.

Barker was even more scathing.

He said, “The rules employed for the African Nations Cup are entrenched and Safa and the Bafana technical staff should have been aware of them before the deciding game against Sierra Leone.

“It is mind-boggling that no one at Safa or in the Bafana set-up was familiar with the facts.”

After an initial celebration on Saturday the Bafana players and the crowd at the Mbombela Stadium heard from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) that it was Niger who had qualified from the group.

Locals believed South Africa had qualified for next year’s Afcon event on goal difference.

The rules of the competition stipulate that if teams finish level on points — Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone all finished with nine points — the nett results of games involving the sides will be the deciding factor. This gave Niger six points and Bafana and Sierra Leone five each.

Motaung said several competitions under the control of the Union of European Football Associations follow similar rules.

Barker said that adding to the embarrassment is the fact that a Safa technical team, including president Kirsten Nematandani and vice-president Danny Jordaan, had been at Caf’s meeting in Cairo two weeks ago. The two also serve on the 2012 Afcon organising committee.

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