Clubs told to release young aces

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Safa is determined to go to the highest authorities to get the selected players released for the African Youth Championship in Rwanda from January 18 to February 1.

Molefi Oliphant, Safa president, has taken it upon himself to assist the frustrated Serame Letsoaka, Amajita coach, to get all the players he selected last week.

"Yes, I'm aware of the challenges faced by the Under-20 national team after certain clubs were reported to have refused to release their players," said Oliphant.

"Bra Stan [Screamer Tshabalala, Safa junior national teams' boss] phoned me last week and we agreed that they must go straight to the chairmen of those clubs.

"If they are not successful, we will invoke the statutes of Fifa regarding the clubs' refusal to release players for national duty.

"Those players will be suspended by Fifa for the duration of the tournament. It's as simple as that."

Sepp Blatter, Fifa president, will also be in Rwanda for the tournament which gave Benni McCarthy his big break after scouts from Ajax Amsterdam signed him in 1997.

Clubs like Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United and Moroka Swallows have made it clear they won't release their players since the tournament is not on the Fifa calendar.

"The answer to that is simple, the tournament in Rwanda leads to the World Youth Championships. Fifa is involved in this tournament," explained Oliphant. "We have to get the strongest possible team to make us proud in Rwanda, that is why it is important for all the clubs to support Serame and his team."

Most of the youngsters in the Rwanda-bound team such as Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Daylon Claasen, Thulani Ngcepe, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Kermit Erasmus and Philane Khwela got exposure from playing for Majimbos, where Letsoaka was their coach.

Players who are not in camp are Mphahlele, Bhengu (Moroka Swallows), Mokotjo, Zongo (SuperSport United) Serero and Sameegh Doutie (Ajax Cape Town) but Letsoaka is keeping his fingers crossed that sanity will prevail.

Letsoaka and his technical team have selected four players on stand-by. They are George Maluleke, Vumile Nxako, Mduduzi Nyanda and Collin Zulu.