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OPINION: SAFA continue to lack accountability

Posted: 13 November 2017 Time: 15:15

Despite a series of mishaps and controversies in recent years, SAFA have again shunned the responsibility of Bafana Bafana's downward spiral.

This weekend's confusion surrounding the emergence of Andile Jali on the team sheet, and eventually on the field, against Senegal caused a mass outcry from the public as SAFA failed to issue official correspondence on the matter.

It was initially thought that Jali was booked in the 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Burkina Faso on October 7, resulting in a one-match suspension due to the accumulation of two yellow cards in a single campaign.

Three weeks after last month's fixture, coach Stuart Baxter was still under the impression that Jali, as well as Bongani Zungu, were suspended upon the announcement of his squad to face the Lions of Teranga in back-to-back clashes.

However, much to the surprise of the public, Jali's name appeared on the substitutes' bench in Polokwane on Friday, with no prior confirmation or explanation as to what prompted his inclusion.

The former Orlando Pirates midfielder then went on to make an appearance in the 2-0 defeat as he came on to replace Lebogang Manyama in the 63rd minute.

After the match, Baxter explained that "some sort of correspondence from FIFA" alerted SAFA that "the referee’s report was wrong", and due to the initial belief that Jali was suspended, he was left on the bench rather than drafted into the starting line-up.

READ: Baxter explains Jali blooper

But SAFA have since found a scapegoat, with the association's spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi seemingly pointing the finger to the SABC for the misunderstanding.

"The broadcaster is the one that brought it [Jali's suspension] up live on TV but our own investigations showed he wasn't suspended. We went through our records, hence he played in Senegal game," tweeted Chimhavi.

Continuing his response, he further tweeted: "During B Faso game, the official broadcaster [SABC] beamed that Jali was suspended after picking up the yellow card but our investigation discovered otherwise. It is through SAFA records that we set the record straight, hence when the media insisted he was suspended, we told them he wasn't... We also stated that Jali actually never even recieved the yellow card in Burkina Faso game despite broadcaster telling public otherwise. I know when the team loses one is on the back foot but our records which were confirmed by FIFA showed Jali doesn't have yellow card despite broadcaster saying he has."

An official statement has yet to be released by the association some three days later, but Chimhavi's utterances perhaps alludes to the lack of responsibility being taken from above.

In October 2011, a similar case saw SAFA fail to accept a misinterpretation of CAF rules, when Bafana incorrectly celebrated their qualification to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, and blamed "the relevant individuals within the national team, the coaching department," according to then SAFA CEO Robin Petersen.

Article by: Chad Klate (@CKlatey)
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