It’s not clear whether Safa will have clubs to compete in this season’s Nedbank Cup.
As it is, the association is racing against time to complete qualifiers for the ABC Motsepe League and SAB League teams that will compete in the Nedbank Cup early next year.
The Ke Yona Cup is contested by the 16 DStv Premiership teams, eight qualifiers from the NFD GladAfrica Championship, and eight teams from the ABC Motsepe League and SAB League. The NFD has just completed its qualification process, with eight teams having already confirmed their spots in the Last 32.
The Motsepe League and SAB structures are amateur leagues that are run by Safa. Amateur football has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with most clubs having been inactive since the start of the national lockdown in March.
The PSL expects Safa to submit the names of qualified clubs for the cup competition in the middle of next month. Safa acting CEO Tebogo Motlanthe maintained that they would be submitted on time.
“We have our work cut out, yes, as a result of the situation. Covid-19 has affected everyone and has forced us to change our programme,” he said.
“We will continue to monitor and ensure that clubs comply with Covid-19 regulations and protocols. Where it is not possible to play, we will make pronouncements, but we should be able to submit the names.
“I know most of the provinces are playing now. The rules say that football can be played but without supporters. The key thing is compliance and adhering to Covid-19 regulations. We ensure that minimum compliance is met.
“We have not reached a stage where we feel we will not be able to submit the names in time. But if the need arises, I will engage the CEO of the PSL [Mato Madlala]. But for now there is no need to do so,” he said.
The situation is dire in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, where government has declared many regions as Covid-19 hotspots. In the Eastern Cape, teams are not playing at all and that could be a problem.
Motlanthe said the association would monitor the situation, but provinces that are unable to play games could be disqualified.
“The Eastern Cape has taken a position not to play because it has been declared a hotspot. It’s a situation that we take day by day and we will make a general assessment.
“If we are forced to do so, we will then make a decision on whether or not there is a need to exclude a certain province from the Nedbank Cup due to the circumstances. But we have not yet arrived at the stage.
“We don’t know what government will say in the coming weeks. Football is considered a superspreader of the virus, so if government says we need to stop, then we will have no choice.”
Safa Eastern Cape secretary Isaac Klaas confirmed that the province had suspended football.
“As a [provincial executive council], we have decided to divide the ABC Motsepe League into two streams with nine teams each. But for now all football is suspended because the virus is out of control.
“If we miss the Nedbank Cup, it will not be the end of the world. There is always next time. We will see early in January what will happen. If all goes well, we can hold the games in the first two weekends, but if that is not possible, we will just have to accept the situation. We can’t risk the lives of our people,” he said.
In October, Safa was again caught in a difficult situation when it had to submit the names of clubs that would be promoted to the GladAfrica Championship. The association resolved to conclude the 2019/20 Motsepe League in all nine provinces and took the leading teams across the streams to contest the national play-offs last month.