shirty affair

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Prominent soccer leader Zacharia Masetla has been dismissed by the South African Football Association on allegations that he stole soccer kits.

Safa alleges that Masetle, who was the director of competitions, last week tried to resell 52 soccer kits to the 52 regional structures of Safa.

Masetla, a former policeman, joined Safa in 1998 and was instrumental in setting up the SAB Regional and Vodacom leagues into proper development structures.

The jerseys, allegedly bought by the federation two years ago, are reportedly worth more than R150000.

Safa chief executive Raymond Hack said they decided to summarily dismiss the hard-working Masetle as part of their policy to promote clean governance at Safa.

Asked if it was true that he tried to resell stolen jerseys to Safa, Masetle said: "There is no such thing about the recycling of soccer kits.

"I was surprised when Raymond showed me the dismissal letter. It is very strange that they chose to fire me without a formal hearing.

"When I confronted Raymond, he told me the instruction came from above. My dismissal has to do with my utterances about Bafana Bafana in Ghana, that's all.

"I was phoned by soccer analyst Doctor Khumalo, who was in the studio during the Afcon in Ghana, wanting my views on the issue of development in South Africa. I said we need to believe in our own people to lead the team. The president [Molefi Oliphant] phoned saying I will see when he gets back home from Ghana.

"Raymond said the president informed him that I confessed to stealing the jerseys in our discussion this morning [Monday], which is a blue lie.

"I only apologised for my utterances about Bafana Bafana to the president. You will recall that Zola Dunywa was also fired for Safa for talking about lack of development."

When asked if he would be challenging the dismissal, Masetle said he did not stand a chance.

Hack has also rejected claims by Masetle that the decision to dismiss him came from Oliphant, saying it was discussed by the management.

For his part, Oliphant said: "Raymond is the head of administration, he is the one who is dealing with the staff members."

Asked if he was in any way involved in the case, Oliphant said: "Oliphant should not become an issue here, I don't deal with staff matters. Zach should be telling you whether he stole the kit or not."