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