FIGHT­ING BACK

The goal is to have him re-in­stated as Bafana coach, says lawyer Bollo

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MAZOLA MOLEFE AND NJABULO NGIDI

SHAKES MASHABA’S lawyers are fight­ing his dis­missal as Bafana Bafana coach be­cause they feel the charges brought against him – he was found guilty on all three charges – aren’t grounds for an ex­pul­sion. At best, they ar­gue, Mashaba should have been given a warn­ing, which is why they have sent a let­ter to Safa in­struct­ing them to de­lay ap­point­ing a new coach as they in­tend to take the mat­ter fur­ther.

“Of­fi­cially we have not re­ceived any­thing from Shakes’ lawyers but we will go back to our own at­tor­neys should we get any such no­tice,” Safa chief ex­ec­u­tive Den­nis Mum­ble said.

That process – from Safa re­ceiv­ing that let­ter, to re­spond­ing to it and the mat­ter be­ing heard at the CCMA – could be fi­nalised in March, Mashaba’s lawyers be­lieve. They ar­gue wait­ing un­til then to name a new coach wouldn’t be much of an in­con­ve­nience to Safa as Bafana will only play their next World Cup qual­i­fier later in the year. But Safa were quick to an­nounce that they will “im­me­di­ately in­sti­tute a search for a new head coach fa­mil­iar with con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion who will be ex­pected to con­tinue the quest to qual­ify for the world’s apex foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion” af­ter they con­firmed sack­ing Mashaba.

The 66-year-old was fired as Bafana coach last month af­ter be­ing found guilty on charges of gross mis­con­duct, gross in­sub­or­di­na­tion and vi­o­la­tion of the Safa com­mu­ni­ca­tion pol­icy af­ter a five-day dis­ci­plinary hear­ing. Mashaba’s out­burst to­wards the me­dia and Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jor­dan led to his sus­pen­sion and even­tual sack­ing.

“We feel his dis­missal is un­fair,” Mashaba’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Clau­dio Bollo, said. “The charges against him aren’t grounds for a dis­missal, at best he should have re­ceived a writ­ten warn­ing. If he had three other warn­ings then we would have un­der­stood his dis­missal.

“But he has never re­ceived a warn­ing be­fore. We feel the ex­change he had with a jour­nal­ist (SABC’s Kwena Moa­belo af­ter the 2-1 win over Sene­gal), which was off-air, shouldn’t have even been a charge. Coaches, when in­ter­viewed, have a go at ref­er­ees and say a lot of things, they aren’t dis­missed for that. Mashaba should have been given three warn­ings first and then dis­missed.”

Bollo be­lieves that the CCMA will be quick to is­sue a date on when this mat­ter could be heard, hop­ing that it’s re­solved by “Fe­bru­ary or March”.

“As a proud South African, the coach would love to lead his coun­try in the World Cup,” Bollo said. “That’s our main goal (to have him re-in­stated as the coach). His fir­ing came at an un­for­tu­nate time, when the team was on an up af­ter the win over Sene­gal. We be­lieve that he can still re­turn to do his job. He has a good re­la­tion­ship with his staff and play­ers. That’s the im­por­tant thing, not (his re­la­tion­ship) CEOs or the pres­i­dent. He doesn’t in­ter­act with those peo­ple daily.”

Mean­while, Safa have squashed ru­mours that Uganda’s coach, Mi­lutin “Mi­cho” Sre­do­je­vic will be ap­pointed as Mashaba’s re­place­ment.

“There is no truth to the ru­mours that Mi­cho has signed a pre-con­tract,” Mum­ble said.

PIC­TURE: BACK­PAGE P

DE­FI­ANT: Shakes Mashaba, dis­missed coach of Bafana Bafana, is tak­ing the South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) to the CCMA af­ter they found him guilty on three charges at a re­cent hear­ing.

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