downs in the clear
There has been no foul play in Mamelodi Sundowns' conduct regarding striker Katlego Mphela's injury.
Downs' assistant coach Harris Choeu, who was fingered by the South African Football Association as the main culprit in Mphela missing Bafana Bafana's international friendly match against Australia in England, has defended the team's actions, saying the decision was taken in the best interests of the player.
Furthermore, Choeu wants to set the record straight by making it clear that, had Mphela travelled with teammates Surprise Moriri, Sibusiso Zuma and SuperSport United defender Bongani Khumalo on Sunday as scheduled, the national team would have suffered in the long run as well.
"As it is right now, the player is on crutches and will be out of action for four weeks. Had we gone against our doctor's advice and allowed him to take the 10-hour flight to London, he would have aggravated the injury, which in turn would have resulted in him being laid off for months," said Choeu.
He likened the thigh muscle injury Mphela sustained to the one that has kept goalkeeper Calvin Marlin on the sidelines for nine months now.
"The truth of the matter is that if he aggravates that injury, the country loses out too.
"The impression has been created that we wanted to keep our players from doing their national duty, [but] it was a matter of timing," Choeu said.
"I'd like to make it clear that we support the national team, and would never deny players their chance of playing in it. That is why the [club] president [Patrice Motsepe] has brought players such as Benedict Vilakazi and Zuma back into the country - so they can get game time with us and therefore challenge for places in Bafana."
Choeu said Sundowns had medical reports from a hospital in Tshwane that will prove their case, and was looking forward to an amicable solution with Safa.