Khoza: Blame SAFA and coach
Irvin Khoza (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - If the SA Football Association (SAFA) and SA Under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba had followed agreed procedure the team would not have struggled to get players for their Algerian trip on Wednesday, said Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza said.
Khoza said on Tuesday afternoon that he was frantically phoning clubs to release players for the Baby Bafana team departing 24 hours later for their two matches in the North African country.
These matches serve as preparation for Mashaba's outfit ahead of their final 2012 London Olympic Games eight-team qualifier tournament set for Morocco from November 26 - December 10.
"Communication was a cause for this problem. The confusion was not from the PSL," said Khoza.
"If we had stuck to the agreements, which we made when we held a joint meeting on October 26, then we wouldn't have this.
"You have to understand that it was the PSL that looked to resolve this matter first by asking for the meeting because we saw what was coming. Can you imagine what it would have been like had we not done it?
"I insist that Mashaba did not tell the PSL about this programme. I want you to say that I said this, if this programme was discussed long before, this would not have happened.
"You cannot have something like this (coming through) two weeks ago, it's very untidy. So Shakes had not properly informed the PSL about this issue."
Khoza said that he was doing everything to gather the travelling party for Algeria where the team play their counterparts twice on Saturday and Tuesday.
"We are doing everything in our power to get them the players, as we speak, I'm engaging with the teams personally about releasing players," said Khoza.
"I'm keeping touch with (SAFA director of national teams) Ace Kika along with (vice-presidents) Shoes Mazibuko and Mwelo Nonkonyane, working in unison to resolve this problem."
Mashaba could not be reached as he was busy with the team's final preparation, though on Monday he said he had given the PSL his plans.
"We were in a joint liaison meeting in October between SAFA and the PSL, where we gave them our plan that went beyond next year's Olympics," Mashaba said.
SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen said that they had to re-send call-ups to the PSL in the morning, guaranteeing the players' return to clubs immediately after the second match.
The players are expected to assemble for the squad after next weekend's Premiership fixtures for Morocco.
"As it stands, we now have 10 players at camp and have been engaging with the league confirming to bring players back in time for weekend matches, knowing well that some are critical for their sides," Petersen said from Cape Town.
He was attending a Parliamentary meeting where the association was told to shape up following Bafana Bafana's failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations having misread a competition rule.
"We have already sent letters to the PSL just to confirm that again.
"We would have preferred to keep players in Morocco because originally we wanted to have players in camp for Algeria and then move on to Morocco.
"That we believe was to give the side proper preparations for the Olympic tournament. But we recognised the importance of some players for their clubs in league matches."