SAFA employee sabotaging the countryThomas Kwenaite
Someone within the South African Football Association (SAFA) is either being incompetent or deliberately sabotaging the country by refusing or failing to obtain necessary documents for South African players based abroad.
Two in particular – defender Joel Untersee (St Gallen, Switzerland) and anchor Sergio Romeu Marakis (Nacional, Portugal) – have been identified by national coach Stuart Baxter as a duo that could add value to Bafana Bafana.
However, despite sending a strong hint to the federation nearly a year ago that he wanted to bring the players into the fold, it appears as if someone within the organization is either sleeping on the job or not the least interested in executing his duties.
As South Africa prepare for a make-or-break AFCON qualifier against Libya either at Tunis or Cairo next month, they would need every available shoulder to the wheel if they hope to overcome the Mediterranean Knights.
The team has been ravaged by injuries to key players from Itumeleng Khune, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler among others have missed crucial matches and certainly Marakis and Untersee could have plugged up the gaps.
However, when approached for comment, Baxter did not want to get involved into the saga, claiming his comments would be misconstrued as slamming his employers and he would rather reserve his comments and discuss the matter with the association.
But it cannot be that players that have pledged their loyalty to the country of their birth, could be left waiting on the wings for more than a year with officials unable to secure them passports to enable them to wear the green and gold.
As State President Cyril Ramaphosa warns that he would purge civil servants dragging the country down, the time has also come for SAFA President Danny Jordaan to bring out the big whip and weed out officials not pulling their weight.
In fact, this is nothing but dereliction of duty and Jordaan would be within his rights to fire whichever official has failed to process the naturalization of Untersee and Marakis.