By FOCUS REPORTER
THE South African Football Association (SAFA) would like to set the record straight regarding allegations levelled at the Association by the head coach of Burkina Faso, Mr Paolo Duarte.
The Burkina Faso Head Coach has accused SAFA of destabilising his side to gain advantage in the international friendly match held at the Coca Cola Park last night. South Africa won the match by 3-0, courtesy of a Katlego Mphela brace and another goal from Captain Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Duarte told the media after the match that he only had one regular player because his players were stuck in the countries where they play their football, alleging that SAFA was using “dirty tricks.” He has also said he wanted his whole team to meet up in Paris from their various destinations so they could travel as a group.
But SAFA has it on record that:
1. The Head of Delegation of the Burkina Faso Football Association (BFA) Ledi Ousmane Sawadogo, has cleared SAFA of any wrongdoing adding that the South Africans did what was asked of them by the BFA;
2. The travel bookings for the delegation were confirmed by July 28 and duly forwarded to the BFA;
3. Between July 28 and August 7, many changes were made by the BFA to the routes, travel times and names of players;
4. We were not aware that the coach wanted the team to meet in Paris and worked according to the directions of the BFA, who confirmed that it was easier and cheaper for other players to fly direct to South Africa, for example those from Ouagadougou;
5. Most of the players the coach wanted did not even check in their tickets;
6. The coach is quoted in the media as saying that four of his selected players were either injured or denied releases by their clubs, directly contradicting his statement that SAFA had undermined his efforts to field his preferred team;
7. Some could not travel because they had no visas, which is no fault of the South African Football Association since visas are arranged only from outside the country by the individuals who require such.
SAFA has also noted with interest that the coach initially called up 28 players, when the agreed number of the travelling delegation allowed for only 30 persons, including the technical team, head of delegation and everyone else involved with the team.
It is unfortunate that the South African Football Association has been drawn into a dispute between the BFA and its Head Coach. The BFA Head of Delegation and the coach had contradicted each other on every aspect of the arrangements for this match. This matter is between the two parties and should not involve SAFA, which did everything in its power to get the team here.
We note with regret this state of affairs and will express our disappointment with the behaviour of the coach after we had established a healthy relationship with our sister federation, the BFA.