Stadium setback adds to SA soccer confusion

Saturday’s MTN 8 first-leg semifinal between Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows has ”unceremoniously” been locked out of Loftus Versfeld as South African soccer generally found itself in a maze of confusion on Tuesday.

”The Premier Soccer League had established as far back as last Saturday that Loftus would be available for soccer this Saturday night,” announced the league, ”only for the stadium management to unceremoniously close the door to us on Tuesday afternoon.”

”And,” added PSL CEO Kjetil Siem in a mind-boggling revelation, ”the Loftus management claim they have been instructed by soccer’s own World Cup local organising committee not to allow the Chiefs-Swallows game to proceed at their stadium because work must proceed over the weekend on renovations for next year’s Confederations Cup.”

Compounding the allegation that soccer might have shot itself in the foot is the fact that rugby will proceed as scheduled at Loftus on Friday night — suggesting there might be more to the matter than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, the PSL is now desperately looking at King’s Park Stadium in Durban and the Mmabatho Stadium as alternative venues for Saturday’s game in the R8-million winner-take-all competition — but there are problems here as well, with Durban officials already preparing King’s Park for the Springboks’ Tri-Nations rugby game against Australia a week later and the lights at Mmabatho Stadium widely considered to be sub-standard.

The MTN 8 stadium muddle is not all that had the South African Football Association, the PSL and its clubs in a tizzy on Tuesday.

Mamelodi Sundowns were up in arms because Bafana Bafana have chosen Sibusiso Zuma for the squad to play Australia in London on Tuesday despite the magnetic midfielder-cum-striker currently being injured.

”They should know that Zuma has been missing from our line-up because of injury,” said Sundowns technical director Ted Dumitru, ”and instead of causing a great deal of chaos and confusion by choosing an injured player, they could have consulted us before making their choice.”

However, Dumitru conceded that Sundowns will release Surprise Moriri and Katlego Mphela for the Australian game even though it falls inconveniently between the two legs of their MTN 8 semifinal against SuperSport United.

”We are bound to do this,” he said in a reference to the South African squad that will be officially announced on Wednesday, ”because the Bafana fixture falls on a date reserved for
international fixtures by Fifa.”

But Dumitru, as well as other officials connected to clubs involved in the MTN 8 semifinals, was hardly impressed with the PSL for arranging the semifinals with the Bafana game sandwiched in between.

”It’s hardly an ideal situation,” said Dumitru. ”But in South African soccer it is not unusual when the right foot has no idea where the left foot is going. It happens most of the time.” — Sapa

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