THE 2011 Metropolitan SASFA Under-16 Cup kicked off at the Muckleuneck Sports Grounds in Mamelodi, Tshwane minus one school for this annual national schools championship.
This after one of the 18 schools, Sithunzi Secondary from the Eastern Cape was summarily expelled from the tournament on account of attempting to field a player who is not a registered pupil at the school, a flagrant contravention of Section 3.1 of the official tournament rules, which requires all participants to be full time day scholars at their respective schools.
“It was discovered during the scrutiny process ahead of the start of the tournament that a certain pupil could not answer some of the simple questions related to the school he purported to attend,” said Patrick Mabasa, Chairperson of the Competitions Committee. “At a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday evening, the player in question, as well as the team manager, were expelled from the tournament with immediate effect and sent home.
“SASFA has a zero tolerance policy towards any form of cheating, as it denies opportunities to legitimate participants, as well as affording an unfair advantage to the dishonest team,” he added.
A written confession and apology has been received from the team manager.
Sithunzi Secondary has been banned from competing in any SASFA-sanctioned event for a period of five years, three of which are suspended.
For logistical reasons the remaining members of the Sithunzi contingent will stay on in Pretoria as spectators.
Metropolitan sponsorship manager, Jennifer Padayachee endorsed SASFA’s stance: “This event is one of the cornerstones of youth development football in the country. The importance of integrity and honesty cannot be overstated and any transgressions of these principles will be dealt with in the strongest possible terms. However, this incident should not have an overall bearing on the remainder of the tournament, which we anticipate will be contested in the finest sporting spirit.”
The matter has been referred to both SAFA and the Department of Education, which could yield further consequences for the offenders.
The group stage of the tournament commences on Wednesday 5 October at the Muckleuneck Sports Grounds until Friday. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final will be played on Friday and Saturday at the Central Grounds in Mamelodi.