Arrows could lose big points over Mbhele eligibility saga

Midfielder 'not registered properly' by club owned by league CEO

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Simo Mbhele of Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Simo Mbhele of Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Golden Arrows, the club owned by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) acting CEO Mato Madlala, are at risk of being docked nine points they accumulated with ineligible attacking midfielder Simo Mbhele was on the field.

On Wednesday, PSL prosecutor Zola Majavu announced the league’s disciplinary committee had charged Arrows. The charges relate to the fielding of Mbhele while he was unqualified to play. The case has been enrolled for hearing on January 20.

While Majavu didn’t reveal what makes Mbhele ineligible, Sowetan gathered that the 23-year-old midfielder didn’t have his international clearance when he joined Abafana Bes’thende from Portuguese fourth-tier outfit 1º Dezembro before the start of the season.

Not having the international clearance means Mbhele wasn’t registered properly, making him ineligible to feature. “He [Mbhele] is a South African player who played for one of the junior Safa League clubs in KZN before moving to Portugal [he was playing for the KZN Football Academy],’’ said a source close to the league’s dealings.

“When he came back to SA from Portugal, he never got his international clearance from Portugal. Safa issued him with a clearance to play for his old club down in Durban and that club sold the player to Arrows. He couldn’t be properly registered.’’

The mole didn’t hesitate to liken this Mbhele matter to the Tendai Ndoro saga that relegated Ajax Cape Town in 2018. Ajax were found guilty of fielding an ineligible Ndoro, forfeiting three games and subsequently lost nine points. Ndoro was unqualified to play for Ajax because he’d been registered with two other clubs in the same season.

“He has played a lot of game [six in the league and two in the MTN8] with Arrows. If you look at what happened with the Ndoro case, the games he [Mbhele] featured in will be awarded to the oppositions.

"If they won any points with him playing, they stand to lose those points. In the matches they lost there’ll be monetary sanction. In case of a draw, other team will get two more points.’’

Article five of the Fifa constitution doesn’t make a good read for Arrows, stating, “If a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match (cf. art. 31) and paying a minimum fine of CHF 6,000."

League games in which Mbhele played

August 25 2021: SuperSport United 1, Arrows 3 (he managed only 3 minutes)

September 11 2021: TS Galaxy 2, Arrows 2 (63 minutes)

September 22 2021: Arrows 2, AmaZulu 2 (62 minutes)

September 25 2021: Sekhukhune 1, Arrows 1 (45 minutes)

October 3 2021: Arrows 3, Marumo Gallants 1 (90 minutes)

October 20 2021: Arrows 0, Mamelodi Sundowns 1 (61 minutes)

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