Middendorp hits out at Safa
Posted: 21 November 2007 Time: 1:37 pm
Arminia Bielefeld coach Ernst Middendorp has hit out at Safa after the organization wrote to Fifa regarding the Bundesliga outfit’s failure to release Siyabonga Nkosi for the recent Bafana Bafana matches against the USA and Canada.
Kick Off can exclusively reveal that the former Kaizer Chiefs coach is livid by Safa’s actions, especially after they failed to submit a report on an injury Nkosi sustained during Bafana Bafana’s 2-0 loss to Italy in Sienna last month.
The injury sidelined Nkosi for a month, in which Bielefeld sent the 26-year-old for rehabilitation, and he only returned to training last week Tuesday (13 November).
“There is too much nonsense being written about this. Nkosi came back from the Bafana game against Italy last month with an injury. We get reports on all players who return injured from international duty, but we didn’t receive a report from Safa on Nkosi’s groin injury. They were the ones who sent him back to us without informing us of his injury,” Middendorp tells Kick Off.
“We sent him for rehabilitation and he only returned to us last week Tuesday. I can never send a player to international duty if he has not trained for weeks. You know, I always send our players, Sibusiso Zuma, Rowen Fernandez, Nkosi…even if it is just for international friendlies. I never hold players back.
“I spoke to Bafana’s team manager Sipho Nkumane to inform him that Nkosi was unfit and that he returned from Italy injured, but Nkumane insisted that the player was not injured. I don’t know, maybe Nkosi did not inform them of his injury.”
To make matters worse for Middendorp, Nkosi played in a friendly game for Bielefeld yesterday and although the former Kaizer Chiefs star did not play the full 90 minutes, he did manage to get his name on the scoresheet.
But Middendorp scoffed at suggestions that if Nkosi was fit to play for Bielefeld, he could have been deemed fit enough for Bafana.
“Look, the player was sidelined from October 18 to November 13. He did not even train with us. Yesterday was a friendly match, against a team that is in a lower league than the Vodacom League in South Africa. If my players are fit, I will always send them out for national duty, I have absolutely no problem with.”
Middendorp also revealed that Nkosi is doubtful to be included in his squad for this weekend’s away fixture to VfL Bochum, but added that the midfielder will most probably be included for their home match against Bayern Munich on December 2.