Fifa transfer bans hurt PSL brand – Sokhela

Galaxy fourth club restricted from signing players

Neville Khoza Journalist
Samir Nurkovic of TS Galaxy took Royal AM to Fifa after they terminated his contract
Samir Nurkovic of TS Galaxy took Royal AM to Fifa after they terminated his contract
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

After TS Galaxy became the latest PSL club to receive a Fifa ban, former AmaZulu manager Lunga Sokhela feels this does not paint a good picture of the image or brand of the league.

Galaxy are the fourth PSL club with an active  Fifa ban, joining Royal AM, Richards Bay and JDR Stars. Their ban follows a contractual dispute with former player Bernard Yao Kouassi, who is owed R1.8m by the Rockets.

The Ivorian striker joined the club in January last year only to be released in August without making any single appearance. He then took the matter to Fifa. Galaxy are now banned from registering new players in the next three transfer windows after they were found guilty.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Sokhela feels these bans do a lot of damage to the PSL as a brand and that clubs need to rethink how they handle their business. “Not positive. But it also just points out some of the misalignment between our rules and laws in SA and how Fifa views them,” Sokhela explained.

“Fundamental to it are our Labour Relations Act in what we may and may not do to business players and Fifa views on that. So, until the football fraternity finds some alignment with Fifa, we will continue to have those problems. Look, I understand in certain instances it is just a matter of clubs not paying people what is due to them.

Royal AM suffered a ban over issues with Ricardo Nascimento
Royal AM suffered a ban over issues with Ricardo Nascimento
Image: Darren Stewart

“But in some instances, players' contracts may have been cut short due to lack of reasonable performance and so on. This has not been a good outlook. I mean, we are not going to be appealing to foreign players and coaches if we have so many instances of Fifa bans.”

Sokhela added that clubs need to start looking at how they can solve the problems of the costs of running their clubs in the league. “There is one elephant in the room the PSL needs to get on top of, and that is the financial abilities of these clubs,” he said.

“In this country, what we have seen is that club owners have to get money from outside to keep this thing running and that is not sustainable. In other countries, there are heavy sanctions if you are living beyond your means.

“They have to change the business model completely to ensure the sustainability of this business.”

Galaxy had an impressive 2023/24 season after finishing in their highest position (six) in the DStv Premiership table.

The club's chairman Tim Sukazi could not be reached for comment yesterday, and it remains to be seen if the club will pay the Ivorian international the R1.8m to have the ban lifted.

Meanwhile, The Rockets are expected to lose one of their key players, Lehlohonolo Mojela, to Stellenbosch before the new season starts. 

In recent years, Kaizer Chiefs were the first side to cop a transfer ban over their recruitment of Malagasy Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana, but five other clubs followed suit since.

Dax was signed by Chiefs without compensation to Fosa Juniors
Dax was signed by Chiefs without compensation to Fosa Juniors

PSL teams who've suffered transfer bans:

February 2020: Chiefs were halted from signing players for two transfers for allegedly failing to compensate 'Dax' Andrianarimanana's club from Madagascar, Fosa Juniors. He had joined Amakhosi in 2018. The player was subsequently loaned out.

November 2023: Chippa United were banned from making transfer by Fifa over a dispute with former player Abdi Banda. Chippa failed to pay Banda a settlement agreement of R1.2m.

January 2024: Royal AM suffered a transfer ban over alleged payment issues regarding former player Ricardo Nascimento, but the club claimed they had settled the R600 00 due to the footballers. They were first found to be wrong in the Samir Nurkovic case after he was not paid his salary and were instructed to pay him R12m.

April 2024: Richards Bay were banned by Fifa over issues relating to payments of former player Ovella Ochieng.

April 2024: JDR Stars were banned from signing players by Fifa due to contract disputes with former striker Auguste Junior Somlaga.

June 2024: Galaxy are slapped with a transfer ban over R1.8m owed to former player Bernard Yao Kouassi.

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