COACH ON SHAKY GROUND

Af­ter an apol­ogy let­ter and an of­fer to va­cate his post – for a fee – Shakes Mashaba is play­ing a wait­ing game

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

In a star­tling move, sus­pended Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba this week of­fered to walk – on con­di­tion his em­ploy­ers give him a hand­some hand­shake. How­ever, his bosses at the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) are hav­ing none of it as they feel they have a wa­ter­tight case. Mashaba was sus­pended by Safa af­ter a touch­line rant that fol­lowed Bafana’s 2-1 vic­tory over Sene­gal in a 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier at Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium in Polok­wane on Novem­ber 12.

A highly placed source told City Press that Mashaba wanted to ne­go­ti­ate a set­tle­ment be­fore hav­ing to face the as­so­ci­a­tion’s dis­ci­plinary hear­ing this past Thurs­day.

But his pro­posal was not en­ter­tained. In­stead, Safa in­sisted that the hear­ing go ahead as sched­uled, in the firm be­lief that they had a strong case against the be­lea­guered coach.

On Thurs­day, the coach’s lawyers re­quested a post­pone­ment. The hear­ing will now be held to­mor­row. Safa spokesper­son Dominic Chimhavi con­firmed that the hear­ing could not pro­ceed on Thurs­day be­cause Mashaba’s lawyers asked for more time to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the case.

City Press has learnt that Safa has lined up a num­ber of key wit­nesses to sup­port its case.

“If he were to be found guilty and dis­missed, Safa would not have to pay him any set­tle­ment,” said an in­sider.

“Hence, they be­lieve they have a strong case. I think he wanted to cash in quickly af­ter re­al­is­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of the mat­ter.”

Mashaba has been on sus­pen­sion for three weeks now, fol­low­ing his rant, in which Safa bosses were not spared. He has been ac­cused of con­tra­ven­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion pol­icy and charged with gross mis­con­duct, in­sub­or­di­na­tion and bring­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion into dis­re­pute.

Dur­ing the ugly in­ci­dent, Mashaba went on a tirade and ac­cused the Safa lead­er­ship of not giv­ing him sup­port in his en­deav­our to qual­ify for the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia.

The coach’s vit­riol was di­rected at Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan and CEO Den­nis Mum­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to Safa’s dis­ci­plinary code, gross mis­con­duct is a dis­mis­si­ble of­fence.

Last week­end, City Press re­ported that Mashaba had writ­ten a let­ter of apol­ogy to the Safa ex­ec­u­tive af­ter his out­burst. But this has not helped him es­cape pun­ish­ment as Safa is forg­ing ahead with its dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

Some see Mashaba’s lat­est ac­tion as an at­tempt to buy time and pro­long the mat­ter to en­sure Safa did not have enough time to hire a new coach, if it got rid of him, be­fore Bafana’s next game.

Bafana will be­gin the 2019 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers in March, be­fore play­ing the four re­main­ing World Cup qual­i­fiers later in the year.

Ef­forts to get hold of Mashaba were un­suc­cess­ful. Mum­ble also did not re­turn calls.

Mean­while, Mashaba is not the only one in hot wa­ter at Safa as three other man­agers have had the book thrown at them for var­i­ous rea­sons.

Safa’s di­rec­tor of com­pe­ti­tions Bale­betse Mon­nakgotla, its Un­der-17 man­ager Sipho Nku­mane and head of schools sport Den­nis Tsha­bal­ala are fac­ing var­i­ous charges, in­clud­ing one for poor per­for­mance.

A se­nior Safa of­fi­cial told City Press con­fi­den­tially that the or­gan­i­sa­tion was em­bar­rassed when the na­tional Un­der-17 team was re­fused per­mis­sion to board their flight to In­dia af­ter turn­ing up at the air­port with­out their visas to en­ter the coun­try to par­take in a Brics – the acro­nym for the de­vel­op­ing economies of Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa – tour­na­ment.

“Safa was also un­happy with how the Kay Mot­sepe Schools Cup soc­cer tour­na­ment was or­gan­ised. About four months ago, it dis­missed three peo­ple from the com­pe­ti­tions de­part­ment for theft,” said the of­fi­cial.

Mum­ble de­clined to com­ment, say­ing th­ese were in­ter­nal mat­ters be­tween the em­ployer and its em­ploy­ees.

Safa is ex­pected to re­port a R45 mil­lion loss when it holds its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing at Em­per­ors Palace on Satur­day.

If he were to be found guilty and dis­missed, Safa would not have to pay him

PHOTO: THEMBA MAKOFANE

UN­DER FIRE Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba is set to ap­pear be­fore a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing to­mor­row

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