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Safa wins another battle against Caf

SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul has managed to convince Caf.
SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul has managed to convince Caf.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Bafana Bafana will no longer have to host an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at 9pm on a Sunday night after the SA Football Association (Safa) prevailed over the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in their tussle over the kick off time.

Caf wanted Bafana to host Sudan at 9pm on Sunday November 17 to accommodate overseas television audiences but Safa stood their ground‚ insisting that the proposed kick off time was ridiculous and no one would come out to watch at that time of night before a working day.

Bafana will now host Sudan at 3pm at Orlando Stadium on the same date.

Safa appears to be on a roll this week as they won another standoff with Caf when they rejected the continental body's attempt to force Bafana to play two 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers inside the space of three days.

The two bodies were at loggerheads as Caf wanted Bafana to play their opening Group C game against Ghana in Kumasi and then return to host Sudan two days later in SA at 9pm.

Safa refused to accept the taxing schedule and Bafana will now face Ghana in Accra on Thursday November 14 and then host Sudan on Sunday November 17.

“There was no way we could play the game in Kumasi on a Thursday evening because I also know there are no lights in Kumasi‚” said said acting Safa chief executive Russell Paul on Wednesday.

“I said I don’t know how they’re going to play a game there on Thursday evening that will allow us to get back on Saturday.

“But Ghana have now agreed to play us in Accra (where there are lights) on Thursday at 7pm ‚ which means that we can catch the 9am flight on Friday morning to come back to SA.

“We will then be back in SA on Friday afternoon around 5 or 6pm‚ we can have a regeneration training session‚ have an official training on Saturday and play the Sudan game on Sunday.”

Paul also clarified that they convinced Caf that it was not possible to play the Sudan game at 9pm on Sunday‚ citing the fact SA fans are not used to that kick off time ahead of a working day on Monday.

“The Sudan game will now be played at 3pm on Sunday at the Orlando Stadium‚” confirmed Paul.

Sao Tome Principe complete Bafana’s group.

The two top teams will qualify for 2021 Afcon which will be hosted by Cameroon.

Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki is expected to name his squad in the coming days.