SAFA brush off Bafana snub
Kirsten Nematandani (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Safa president Kirsten Nematandani on Friday brushed aside Egypt's controversial decision to field their Under-23 team in their remaining two African Nations Cup qualifiers.
The move could prove detrimental to Bafana Bafana's chances of making next year's tournament.
"Instead of getting hot under the collar about a move that appears to act in favour of Niger and Sierre Leone, who are in South Africa's qualifying group and still have fixtures against The Pharoahs, we should simply concentrate on beating these two countries," said Nematandani.
Egypt's surprise decision, however, has been viewed as "a blow below the belt for Bafana" by some officials because it seemingly eases the path of Niger and Sierre Leone in the African Nations Cup qualifying race.
After emerging African champions from the past two Nations Cup events, a troubled Egypt have fared so poorly in the current programme for next year's event that they virtually have no chance of qualifying.
They have gleaned a meagre two points from four games.
The Egyptians have now apparently bowed to the inevitable of making an exit following the qualifying stages of the African Cup.
They have seemingly switched their attention to the Olympic Games hoping to qualify for a tournament reserved for players in the under-23 category.
With this in mind, Egypt now intend utilising the African Nations Cup qualifiers to blood their under-23 line-up for the purpose of enhancing their Olympic Games aspirations.
"As I see it there is nothing in the rules we can do to prevent this," said Nematandani.
"But, in any case the Egyptians are not acting in a manner designed to thwart Bafana, but for what they consider is best for their own ambitions.
"We simply have to go ahead and win the matches against Niger and Sierre Leone to ensure Nations Cup qualifying."