Ngwaabe City motors owner Kgajane Masha has expressed his disappointment with the South African Football Association (Safa) following their decision to withdraw the lower league teams from this year’s Nedbank Cup.
The Limpopo ABC Motsepe League side were the only ones to have booked one of the eight Safa spots for the 2021 tournament, while other provinces were still struggling to finalise the qualifiers due to the covid-19 pandemic.
This prompted the football mother body to withdraw all the amateur teams from the competition after failing to meet the 11 January deadline to submit their participants.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced hours before the Thursday last 32 draw that, unlike other editions, this year’s tournament will include 16 DStv Premiership and 16 GladAfrica clubs.
Masha claims that no one from Safa informed them about the decision and was surprised to get the information from the media.
“Honestly I am so disappointed and I don’t want to lie to you,” Masha tells FARPost.
“My players were crying tears, I had to call all of them this morning to calm them down. Well, coronavirus is here but I was not expecting that now that we are in the last 32 with other professional clubs they will now disqualify us because we are not a professional team. What is surprising is that during the promotion playoffs to the GladAfrica league, the ABC Motsepe League teams played when there was coronavirus.
“I don’t want to lie to you, I don’t understand because no one from Safa came to me as a team owner and explained why we are not playing in the Nedbank Cup, till today. There is no one who came to me and explained why. I only saw the reports in the media that we are no longer in the Cup. No one said anything to me. Maybe they are still going to come or they won’t, I don’t know,” he said.
“Deep down in my heart I am feeling the pain you see. I don’t want to talk lies or buy someone’s face but to show respect to my team, they (Safa) need to write a letter to explain what happened. I am not saying they must change the decision, but they need to inform us officially,” added Masha.
But Safa Head of competitions, Thomas Sadiki rubbished Masha’s claims that the club was not informed and also explained the decision why Safa decided to withdraw the clubs.
“The plan was to submit the eight teams by 11 January as the program we had. But this program was delayed by the regional playoffs to the ABC Motsepe Leagues so we could not kick start because some provinces were affected. We thought by the 11th we would be done and provinces had also targeted the same date.
“But unfortunately when they (Government) announced on the 28th of December, then everything collapsed. So it became a challenge and we don’t want to be seen as an irresponsible association because when they announced they said non-professional sports (is not permitted). So it means the PSL was not affected. Yes, it’s painful but the situation is out of our control and we had to look at what is important,” explained Sadiki.
“When coming to the issue of that team. A circular was sent to regions and also the provincial secretaries so they are the ones who are supposed to communicate that information. So you might find that yes they did not open their emails but the structures were informed,” he clarified.
RELATED STORY: BREAKING NEWS: Safa pull out teams for Nedbank Cup
By Ofhani Munyai