Monday, 18 August 2014

Who's your Dady? Rwanda pay the price for identity crisis and Bafana must change travel plans

Identity crisis: Rwanda's Birori Dady; also known as DRC's
Etikiama Agiti Tady with his club side AS Vita Club
It has to rank as one of the silliest attempts at subterfuge in footballing history. Rwanda are OUT of Afcon 2015 and South Africa’s travel plans will have to be radically revamped to include Brazzaville.

Quite whether the new Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba will enjoy this incredible tale is uncertain. Disqualified Rwanda are ranked 101 by FIFA while their late replacements in Group A, Congo, are ranked 78.

With Sudan (ranked 115 by FIFA) away first up on September 6 followed by Nigeria (33) in Cape Town on September 10, South Africa (ranked 69) will now play Congo away a month later as they reach the halfway point in a six-match qualifying schedule which ends, abruptly, on November 19.

Rwanda thought they had qualified for Group A with South Africa, Nigeria and Sudan after they ousted the Congo on penalties (both sides won 2-0 at home in a two-legged tie) but then came the storm over the number of passports held by a chap called Birori Dady.

With Egyptian giants Zamalek also raising concerns over Dady’s true identity after playing in the African Champions League against his club side AS Vita in the DRC, the full story began to unravel.

Sunday’s full CAF disciplinary statement read: “The protest by Congo contested the eligibility of the player Birori Dady aligned with Rwanda, and plays for the AS Vita Club of Kinshasa with Congolese (DRC) passport as Etekiama Agiti Tady, and a different age.

“Following investigations by CAF and on the basis of documents provided by the federations of Rwanda, Congo and DR Congo, and hearing the player's testimony on 11 August 2014 at CAF headquarters in Cairo, CAF established that the two identities only referred to a single person.

“While the Rwandan Football Federation (FERWAFA) maintained that to their knowledge the player Dady Birori had one identity, investigations revealed that he was summoned as Etekiama Agiti Tady by FERWAFA to join the national team of Rwanda.”

In effect, it’s a bit like South Africa playing Zimbabwe and calling up Knowledge Musona under an assumed name. Absolute madness when Birori (or Tady) plays his football as a home-grown player in the DRC with AS Vita.

Not very appealing: FERWAFA will fight disqualification
Predictably, Rwanda's FERWAFA today said they will appeal the CAF ruling, with their case set to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Success appears unlikely, though Dady only played in the first leg of their qualifier against Congo.

The shockwaves in Rwanda will be huge while they’ll be dancing in the streets of Brazzaville… but for South Africa there are more pressing problems before the trip to Sudan at the end of the month.

Shakes Mashaba arrived back in South Africa today after a useful 1-1 draw with the Under 20 AmaJitas in Cameroon on Saturday. But he missed last week’s absorbing live PSL action and he remains without an assistant coach or technical director just a fortnight before AFCON qualifying kicks-off with the grown-ups.

The latest word on those positions is this: the Technical Director position will be filled on the advice of FIFA’s technical guru Gerard Houllier, sources suggest that man will be “Dutch or German, somebody like Foppe de Haan, who was at Ajax Cape Town”.

According to my sources only Steve Komphela or Neil Tovey locally had sufficient qualifications for the role, which was supposed to be filled last week. Neither will now be considered. Shakes will report to Fran Hilton-Smith in the meantime – the former Banyana Banyana official now describes herself as SAFA’s “acting technical director”.

Shakes is likely to turn to Gordon Igesund’s No 2 Serame Letsoake as his assistant, though he will also involve his AmaJitas deputy Thabo Senong either as the new Under 20 coach or as a second assistant.

None of this fills me with glee. But Shakes knows best. His first priority will be to get his AmaJitas through the second leg against Cameroon. Then he will turn his attention to a new Bafana squad, who will attend a four-day camp before the Sudan trip.

Mashaba is leaving it late. But after a bright start to the new domestic season, perhaps that won’t matter. But we do know it can’t get any worse than what Rwanda are currently going through.

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