Bafana Bafana

Venue change for Bafana

2012-09-28 16:30
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)

Warsaw - Poland's upcoming friendly against South Africa has been shifted to the capital Warsaw, after officials in the planned host city refused to give a green light.

Agnieszka Olejkowska, spokeswoman for Poland's PZPN football association, said the decision to move the October 12 match to Warsaw's new National Stadium had been taken at a meeting of its board.

Poland manager Waldemar Fornalik has reportedly been keen to play South Africa in Warsaw, given that his squad will face England in the capital on October 16 in a crunch World Cup qualifier.

Fornalik took the helm after co-hosts Poland tumbled out of the 2012 European championships, but his shaken-up squad have made a weak start to their campaign to reach the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

The game pitting the visiting Bafana Bafana against the Bialoczerwoni had originally been set to take place in an aging ground in the northern city of Bydgoszcz.

The plan went awry when regional governor Ewa Mes ruled that the game could not go ahead, after taking advice from the police and emergency services.

Concerns reportedly centred on a shortfall of security cameras, the fact that some of the turnstiles were under repair, and that fencing to prevent a pitch-invasion was inadequate.

The Bydgoszcz stadium was the location of a fan riot during the 2011 Polish Cup Final.

That sparked a wide-ranging government crackdown on football hooligans across Poland, as the country prepared to host Euro 2012.

Warsaw's National Stadium was purpose-built for Euro 2012, and critics questioned why it had not been picked as the venue for the South Africa friendly in the first place.

There have been claims that it was part of PZPN chief Grzegorz Lato's re-election campaign, as he allegedly sought to muster votes from northern Poland's football establishment.

Earlier this week, Lato announced that he was pulling out of next month's PZPN leadership election.

Read more on:    poland  |  bafana  |  soccer
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