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