Saturday, 4 January 2014

An air of resignation: The son goes down as Kaizer Chiefs stars finally join the Bafana squad

Family business: Kaizer and Bobby
In the real world when a junior official publicly contradicts his well-loved Chief Executive Officer, the axe falls with alarming speed.

At Kaizer Chiefs, when Football Manager Bobby Motaung attempts to tear up the agreement set by his father Kaizer – the club’s owner – a stony silence falls.

We know Bobby well. In theory. I’ve spoken to his brother Junior and his sisters Jessica and Kemiso. But somehow I’ve never got through to the oldest surviving brother in the Motaung clan.

We know that he refused to resign a couple of years ago, saying he didn’t need to a CV to get the job under his father: “This is a family business,” he told us "I will be here as long as this company exists."

Then there were the TWO arrests over the Mbombela Stadium scandal. I spoke to Paul Ramaloko, the Hawks captain, after the bizarre episode at Nelspruit Magistrates Court when he arrested Bobby for the second time as he left court following a preliminary hearing.

At the time, and I remember it well, I asked Paul if there was anything he could add to the story, recognising how difficult prosecuting the son of the nation’s most popular footballer would be. Captain Ramaloko’s reply remains etched in my mind: “Neal, do you really think I would do this without a watertight case against him?”

But of course, when the charges of fraud, corruption and forgery came to court, magistrate Roelf Smith removed the case from the roll as "he could see no progress being made". The case - and two deaths linked to the Mbombela Stadium debacle - remain undealt with, hanging like a sword of Damocles over South Africa’s national game.

Throughout all that, Bobby remained in place. Acting not just as Football Manager or Kaizer Chiefs but as a makeshift spokesman for the club, an enforcer, the man who made all the transfers. There was the bizarre severing of ties with the popular former captain Jimmy Tau too.

After long-term injury, Jimmy had been told by double-winning coach Stuart Baxter that he would get a new contract at the club as he fought his way back to fitness and played a couple of reserve games at the end of last season.

But almost as soon as Baxter’s flight had departed for an off-season break in Britain, Bobby summoned Jimmy and told him his services were no longer required. That story is documented HERE

But all this pales into insignificance in the light of the events of the past fortnight. After his father Kaizer, along with Sundowns supremo Patrice Motsepe, had agreed to release his players to Bafana Bafana for the CHAN tournament in January, Bobby immediately came out and said Chiefs would do no such thing.

Earlier this week he released a further statement through the club’s website insisting no AmaKhosi stars would be release until AFTER the top-of-the-table clash against Mamelodi Sundowns on January 23. With the tournament starting in Cape Town on January 11, that would have left South Africa's squad five short throughout the group stages.

With dangerous neighbours Mozambique, Mali and reigning African champions Nigeria to play in Group A, that would have been simply unacceptable.

And with Gordon Igesund’s squad of 23 already officially submitted, SAFA president Danny Jordaan had no choice but to insist the five Chiefs players should be there from the start. On the telephone to me on Thursday night, he said he had written to FIFA, he insisted it was possible to get the five Chiefs players banned for the Sundowns game.

And of course, with Sundowns doing the honourable thing and releasing their players for CHAN, Chiefs – and the grand old man Kaizer – were forced in to a corner. Chincha Guluva, as always, did the honourable thing and promised to release his players as he had agreed in a tele-conference with SAFA three weeks ago.

Jordaan’s Saturday statement – including the line “Our gratitude goes out to Mr Kaizer Motaung and Kaizer Chiefs for their long-standing and unstinting support of the national team” – is clearly placatory, in the interests of the nation.

The social networks will debate the rights and wrongs of the situation until the cows come home, but the fact is Bobby publicly contradicted – even embarrassed – his father with his outspoken rebuttal of the CHAN policy agreed with SAFA, the game’s ruling body.

It’s fair to say Bidvest Wits only released their players late too. And that Orlando Pirates have somehow escaped the entire debacle while their chairman, also in charge of the PSL, was never asked to explain how Chiefs v Sundowns found its way on to the fixture list in mid-CHAN.

But those are side issues. In the real world, Bobby would be forced to resign. In our little world, the son of the boss will no doubt carry on without a CV or an apology. And that simply can’t be right.

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  1. I somehow see double stds Neal. It is not s Fifa sanctioned tourney thus Bobby was right to refuse cos s the football manager fans will be on his back if things don't work out for Chiefs. Pirates is being treated with kids gloves n u as their fellow favourite scribe u brush that aside. You on Bobsteak case, you colonel has his team saved from the rigors of overload thus they can b in a pole position to stake a claim to the psl title. Khoza uses his many influences to his favour to the detriment of the country yet when bobby tries to protect his players which is within his right guess what ? Ppl like u have him on a platter. For once I challenge ppl in your calibre n influence to be honest n right truthful n unbiased content.

    1. Neal your article is very biased.i agree with mxolisi,this chan is not played under fifa Calender. So its team prerogative to release players or not .n Bobby was not contradicting amakhosi supremo but telling club position.and u go on and tell the nation that the teleconference was about players release wereas Mr Mutaung senior refute that by stating it was about moving or bringing the Sundowns v chiefs game forward to the 23 instead of 28.its you and your one sided reporting which makes people think bobby is a bad person. Chiefs is a big company they know the laws they can not be bullied by anyone. But they released their players for the best interest of the they always done.u claim Dr Jordan indicate that he wrote the latter to fifa for possible banning of chief players for Sundowns game. But your article run shot of explaining under which ground was that possible. Y is Pie-rates players not banned or selected u dont touch that for your own reason. We understand chiefs is a big brand n people get noticed when they write about. But there is no need to be biased. U could've got Bobby side of the story.

  2. Nice one, Neal. These are the realities of "our little world"..