Irvin Khoza sideswipes Bafana coach Baxter
Irvin Khoza has come to the Premier Soccer League's (PSL's) defence amid suggestions that the standard of the league may have been responsible for Bafana Bafana's failure to make another World Cup.
The PSL chairman, speaking at the league's annual general meeting this week, seemed to blame Stuart Baxter's selection criteria, insisting local teams had actually shown competence on the continental front.
"You can see that competition is stretching ... if teams like Ghana, Ivory Coast did not make it [to next year's World Cup]," Khoza said.
"Our teams are doing well in CAF competitions and everyone is improving."
In the past four years, three SA teams - Orlando Pirates (twice), Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United have reached the finals of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, with Sundowns emerging victorious last year. SuperSport travel to TP Mazembe for the first leg of the Confed final on Sunday.
In what seemed an indirect dig at Baxter - the Bafana coach who claimed in the aftermath of Bafana's defeat to Senegal in Polokwane that SA football had remained stagnant for more than a decade - Khoza said: "Contrary to what others think, our teams have done well. You can't take any team easy."
He intimated that Bafana may have paid the ultimate price for Baxter's "inconsistent" selection. "Sometimes our coaches use different criteria for selection, but there are certain things you can't change. All teams that do well stick to a certain formation.
"Look at all the teams in the league - they will all have a core 18-man squad, constant faces, who get to understand each other.
"You have to be consistent in your selection. Sometimes you get injuries and they disrupt, unfortunately. The top teams, Germany, Italy ... use the same players - on or off-form."
Khoza, meanwhile, had a go at player agents, who are under investigation by the Competitions Commission for alleged price-fixing.
"We should be vigilant and not make it possible for our value chain to be skewed against us because we were not attentive, or we were divided," Khoza said in his main address to club owners.
"I am raising these issues to create introspection on our part. Experience has taught us over and over again that failure or lapses in doing these kinds of self-examinations hit our pockets.
"People make money of us with no benefit for us at all."