ANC’s Gwede backs fired Shakes

Man­tashe speaks out as na­tional soc­cer coach insists he wants to be in Rus­sia in 2018

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

Fired Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba this week re­ceived sup­port from an un­likely source when ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe spoke out and ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment at the coach’s sack­ing. “What are we go­ing to do with the ex­pul­sion of Mashaba? It can­not be right. It can­not be right that Mashaba is fired. I do not sup­port that action‚” Man­tashe was quoted as say­ing by TimesLIVE.

The be­lea­guered coach was part of the ANC’s fes­tiv­i­ties in Vi­lakazi Street in Soweto, where Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma ad­dressed the crowd on Fri­day, ahead of to­day’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion at Or­lando Sta­dium.

The sack­ing of Mashaba could hit the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) in the pocket for a sec­ond time.

Four years ago, Safa paid out a few mil­lion rands to for­mer Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosi­mane af­ter ter­mi­nat­ing his four-year con­tract, worth a re­ported R1 mil­lion a month.

Mosi­mane had two years left on his agree­ment when he was axed, fol­low­ing the South African squad’s fail­ure to qual­ify for the Africa Cup of Na­tions in 2012.

Now Mashaba may also find joy at the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA).

This is not the first time the for­mer coach and Safa have crossed swords.

In 2004, the CCMA ruled in favour of Mashaba against Safa and awarded him a set­tle­ment of R2.3 mil­lion.

Mashaba had taken on Safa in a bid to be re­in­stated af­ter he was sus­pended on the eve of the Africa Cup of Na­tions in Tu­nisia. The two par­ties even­tu­ally agreed on a set­tle­ment.

Given that Mashaba’s cur­rent con­tract was sup­posed to end af­ter the 2018 Fifa World Cup – set to take place in Rus­sia from mid-June to mid-July – Safa may be forced to com­pen­sate him should he win his case.

How­ever, first prize for Mashaba would be to go back to his coach­ing job and lead Bafana to Rus­sia next year.

Clau­dio Bollo, Mashaba’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, be­lieves the re­la­tion­ship be­tween his client and his em­ployer is not be­yond re­pair and could still be mended.

Bollo con­firmed that pa­pers would be lodged with the CCMA for Mashaba’s re­in­state­ment on the grounds of un­fair dis­missal. The Bafana coach ex­pe­ri­enced a bleak Christ­mas af­ter he was sacked on De­cem­ber 22.

On Fri­day, Bollo told City Press that he and his client be­lieved they had a strong case and were con­fi­dent the com­mis­sion would rule in their favour.

He said they would con­sider opt­ing for com­pen­sa­tion should their re­in­state­ment re­quest fail.

“We be­lieve the re­la­tion­ship can still be re­paired as he [Mashaba] has a good un­der­stand­ing with the play­ers and his tech­ni­cal team,” said Bollo.

“His job does not re­quire daily in­ter­ac­tion with the board of Safa. Hence, we say the re­la­tion­ship is easy to fix.”

He was quick to add that Mashaba bore no grudges against Safa and was will­ing to build a bridge.

“But, as in any lit­i­ga­tion, we will go there with open minds. If we feel there is a need to set­tle for com­pen­sa­tion, then we could do so. “But the first prize is for him to get his job back.” Bollo said Mashaba wanted to be in Rus­sia next year. “He has set his sights on the World Cup be­cause it is ev­ery coach’s dream to be there,” he said, adding that there was no need for Safa to rush into em­ploy­ing an­other coach while they were still fight­ing his dis­missal, given that the next Bafana Bafana match would be played only in Au­gust.

This af­ter Safa’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Den­nis Mum­ble, said the as­so­ci­a­tion’s search for a new coach would go ahead, de­spite Mashaba’s CCMA case.

“We be­lieve they do not have a case against our client be­cause they used off-the-record con­tent to ad­vance their case,” said Bollo.

“There was a slight ar­gu­ment and a nor­mal dis­agree­ment, but that can­not be used as a case.”

Mum­ble did not re­turn mes­sages left on his phone by City Press.

PHOTO: REUTERS / DAR­REN STA­PLES LIVEPIC

HIGH-FLIER Manch­ester United’s Wayne Rooney cel­e­brates scor­ing their first goal dur­ing the FA Cup match against Read­ing at Old Traf­ford yes­ter­day, his 249th in 543 ap­pear­ances for United and equalling Sir Bobby Charl­ton’s record. United won 4-0 to book a place in the next round

PHOTO: LIEWIG CHRIS­TIAN / CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES

OUT IN THE COLD Shakes Mashaba has been dis­missed as Bafana coach

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