Bafana management deny bonus dispute

2009-06-10 00:00

WHILE Bafana Bafana’s team management denied a report that there has been a dispute over bonuses within the camp, assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal travelled to Cape Town yesterday to view last night’s 1-1 friendly warm-up draw between Poland and Iraq.

The South Africans have already reviewed video footage of Iraq, Bafana’s opponents in the Confederations Cup opener at Ellis Park on Sunday, But the Asian champions have recently changed coaches. Mosimane and Leal were to report back today if there had been any major changes made by new Iraq coach Bora Milutonivic.

Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane, meanwhile, downplayed a website report that there had been a dispute over bonuses in the camp. This was after reported that players had demanded larger incentives for the Confed Cup.

The website yesterday quoted goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez as saying: ““It [the dispute] is not a major problem. It will be sorted out very soon and I can tell you the players are still focused on the job at hand.

“We all understand that it is not about the money, but representing our country. The players’ committee has had meetings with the management of the national team. But the general consensus among the players is that the tournament is more important than the money.”

What seems clear is that if there was a dispute, then, unlike on previous similar occasions involving the national soccer team ahead of major tournaments, it was swiftly dealt with.

Nkumane denied there are negotiations under way between Safa and the Players’ Committee.

“There’s no discussions under way. The matter has been finalised with the players and Safa made it clear that any players who were unhappy with their bonuses would come forward to me and indicate so, and today no-one came forward.

“The matter was settled yesterday with the players committee and even on Sunday with the players.

“Because we could not have a situation for the whole week discussing issues of bonuses because the team has got an important match on Sunday.

“The bonuses were finalised around the Norway friendly [in March]. By Sunday feedback was given to the players. I’m not aware of any negotiations taking place — the matter is closed.”

Striker Terror Fanteni said the background work done by the coaching staff, who are also sure to take plenty of notice in the warm-up between Italy and New Zealand at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville tonight, will see Bafana not go into their first two Confed matches completely blind.

Fanteni’s Isreali club, Maccabi Haifa, where he is a team-mate of Bafana left-back Tsepo Masilela, won the league in that country this season.

The striker said his scoring return for South Africa, after seven months out of the national team, in the 1-0 friendly victory over Poland at Orlando Stadium on Saturday has lifted him for the Confed.

“It felt good to score and it’s boosted my confidence. I’ll go to the next match with my chest out.”

Steven Pienaar was not part of yesterday’s training session at Milpark due to a mildly sprained ankle, though he is still on track to face Iraq, according to management.

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