Red tape rules out Bafana cap­tain

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MOHAU RAMASHIDJA

BAFANA BAFANA will be with­out former Greece-based player Lehl­o­gonolo Masalesa when they face Botswana in an African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (Chan) qual­i­fier to­mor­row at Fran­cis­town Sta­dium (Kick-off 3.30pm).

That’s be­cause Masalesa, who cap­tained Stu­art Bax­ter’s side in the Cosafa Cup tour­na­ment re­cently, is not reg­is­tered with a do­mes­tic side fol­low­ing his re­turn from Greek club Larissa.

Ac­cord­ing to the rules of the Chan com­pe­ti­tion, only play­ers ply­ing their trade in the do­mes­tic leagues of the re­spec­tive coun­tries, will be el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in this com­pe­ti­tion.

Bax­ter lamented that rule, adding that he could have or­gan­ised a tem­po­rary loan for Masalesa with a do­mes­tic side, had he known ear­lier.

Bafana trav­elled to Botswana yes­ter­day af­ter­noon fol­low­ing their fi­nal train­ing ses­sion. They visit the Ze­bras for a first leg meet­ing of the sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing round of the tour­na­ment.

“It’s quite un­for­tu­nate be­cause Fifa clearly states in one of their rules that an un­reg­is­tered player can play in an of­fi­cial tour­na­ment,” Bax­ter said.

“But we thought that Caf might have some sort of rule within them­selves (that might pro­hibit Masalesa from par­tic­i­pat­ing in this com­pe­ti­tion). And they did. Chan is all about lo­cally based play­ers and there­fore Vieira had to have a lo­cal reg­is­tra­tion in or­der for him to par­tic­i­pate in this tour­na­ment. If we had known ear­lier, we would have or­gan­ised some sort of tem­po­rary loan from some other club for him. But, un­for­tu­nately, we do not have time for that now.

“It’s quite a blow for us be­cause we had him in the start­ing line-up. We’ll now have to change the shape of how we are go­ing to play,” he added.

Bax­ter stated he had dif­fi­culty find­ing a quick re­place­ment for the 25-year-old cen­tral de­fen­sive mid­fielder, which led to him call­ing PSL coaches in the late hours of Wed­nes­day evening. The Scots­man said he re­ceived as­sis­tance from coach Pitso Mosi­mane.

“I’ve been talk­ing to other coaches re­gard­ing the mat­ter (on Wed­nes­day night) and coach Pitso has been re­ally help­ful,” Bax­ter said. “He’s go­ing to al­low us to take Sibu­siso Khu­malo with. We are now in the process of get­ting him on board in time. And that’s how we sorted the prob­lem out. We are just hop­ing that we don’t lose any more play­ers ei­ther from in­jury or from be­ing re­called.”

Bax­ter said de­fender Mario Booy­sen will take over the cap­taincy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.