Thursday, 15 October 2015

HERE IT IS, IN FULL: The South African Football Association's apology for wrecking the weekend's football fixtures

Shakes on a plane: Mashaba got an early flight home,
leaving his Bafana players behind in Honduras
There's no point in embellishing this. Despite repeated requests for clarification, SAFA waited until 4.25pm on Thursday afternoon to reveal just how chaotic their organisation has become.

While South Africa's foreign contingent got early flights out of Honduras and are already back with their clubs, the home-based Bafana stars were left to fly out late, forcing the postponement of four PSL games scheduled for the weekend.

And here's the kicker: national head coach Shakes Mashaba flew out early, leaving his players behind, like a father deserting his children. He's already home, presumably to help assistant Thabo Senong with the CHAN game against Angola still scheduled for Saturday at the Rand Stadium.

It beggars belief. After that 1-1 draw in Honduras in the early hours of Wednesday morning (half of which was blanked out on our television screens without explanation from SABC), the truth is Bafana Bafana knew they wouldn't be able to get their players home in time.

Here's the SAFA apology released this afternoon:

Due to unavailability of flights from Central America direct to South Africa, the Bafana Bafana squad will only land in South Africa on Saturday morning from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
We would like to apologise to the PSL, clubs and fans for the inconvenience which resulted in the postponement of four matches scheduled for this weekend.
We would also like to thank all the stakeholders for their cooperation regarding this matter.

Having cocked-up their departure by trying to travel to Costa Rica via Atlanta in the United States without transit visas, Bafana were forced (at some expense to the hosts) to travel to Central America via Rio de Janeiro in Brazil 12 hours later. They also failed to persuade three late-travelling Orlando Pirates players to join them after the Buccaneers semi-final triumph over Al Ahly in Egypt.

Then, just like their five-day mystery-tour return from Equatorial Guinea after a disastrous AFCON earlier this year, the long trek home began, with denials and excuses thrown about like confetti.

Openly on twitter, time and again, I asked SAFA Communications Director Dominic Chimhavi and Bafana Bafana Miscommunications boss Matlahomo Morake when the team would arrive home. Even now we have no time, just a day: SATURDAY.

And yes, the PSL resumes hours after they land (I'm told most of the players will arrive at around 7am) so   the entire South African football programme has had to be rescheduled. Fortunately, crowds are so tiny few fans will be bothered. But for Kaizer Chiefs and their thousands, Bafana Bafana's awful incompetence HAS to be accounted for.

In a week when former SAFA official Ace Kika was banned for SIX YEARS for his part in the 2010 match-fixing affair, our national football association simply seems hell-bent on self-destruction, with president Danny Jordaan too busy being Mayor of Port Elizabeth to actually get involved.

As if to highlight SAFA's incompetence, Mpumalanga Black Aces chairman George Morfou took matters in to his own hands, flying his goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane home simply by booking the flight privately. Mabokgwane is already home, though he needn't have bothered. Aces clash with Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday has already been postponed.

The rescheduled games: 
Chippa United vs SuperSport United
Bidvest Wits vs Jomo Cosmos
Kaizer Chiefs vs MP Black Aces
Platinum Stars vs Ajax Cape Town

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