By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
BLACK Leopards can find themselves playing in the National First Division’s Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs after the appeal board of SAFA ruled that Edgar Manaka was properly registered with the club.
Lidoda Duvha appealed the PSL’s decision to deduct three points from them after they were found guilty of fielding Manaka during their league match against Batau FC on March 6. This was after Batau lodged a protest to PSL’s disciplinary committee that Leopards had fielded a non-registered Manaka during that.
PSL’s disciplinary under their prosecutor, Zola Majavu responded by slapping the Venda-based side, deducting three points that saw the 2011 Nedbank Cup finalist dropped to the third position with 35 points behind Pretoria (second position with 37 points) and league champions, Jomo Cosmos who wrapped their 2010/11 season on top of the log with 47 points.
In its ruling last night at the OR Tambo International Airport, the appeal board of SAFA up-held Leopards’ appeal while setting aside the PSL’s disciplinary committee’s decision to deduct three points from the club.
The board also declared Manaka as a properly registered player for Leopards on the basis of a clearance that was issued by SAFA.
There was also a recommendation that in future, players must also be joined as a part to protest proceedings, however the appeal board accepted that such a discretion rests with the relevant prosecuting authority.
The appeal board also ruled that Batau FC should pay the costs of the appeal, and the club was given 72 hours to appeal to arbitration.
Should Batau decide to appeal to an arbitrator and fail, then Leopards will replace AmaTuks whom PSL has since declared them as the candidate for the four-clubs promotion/relegation play-offs.