Safa's money troubles are now spilling onto the pitch

Kaizer Chiefs striker Leonardo Castro.
Kaizer Chiefs striker Leonardo Castro.
Image: BackpagePix / Muzi Ntombela

Safa's financial woes are beginning to impact negatively on Bafana Bafana, the very asset keeping it afloat and sustaining its existence.

So dire is the money situation at the mother body's headquarters at Safa House in Nasrec, Joburg, even Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter has vented his frustration at Safa for not being able to hire a permanent assistant coach for him.

Last week's game against Libya was on the brink of being blacked out from SABC screens because the equally cash-strapped public broadcaster had failed to pay its dues, amounting to millions of rands, to Safa.

Notwithstanding revelations that the penniless Safa has not been able to honour the payment of monthly grants to its regions, the situation is further compounded by a number of lawsuits Safa is facing, adding up to millions.

The dire financial situation has also been exacerbated by creditors knocking non-stop, demanding what is due to them for services rendered.

Baxter's discontent and low morale has spilled over onto Bafana. The manner in which the national side is performing at the moment leaves a lot to be desired. The Africa Cup of Nations Group Group E qualification tie against Libya, staged in Durban last Saturday, is a case in point.

Bafana were poised for a victory to take charge of the group but put up an appalling display of football, settling for a point against a team from a country which does not even have a proper professional league.

"We have budget constraints and we also have political constraints. When I say that I mean political within our game," Baxter said, as quoted by the Business Day website.

"We can't just go and steal [coaches] from the clubs at the drop of a hat. We have to try and negotiate and at some point you work on it, and then it doesn't work.

"So, it is a bit frustrating... It is just frustrating knowing that we have not nailed it down. But that is partly political and partly financial."

When the English mentor wanted to rope in Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena as a once-off measure to assist him earlier this year, he was snubbed.

Alternately, Baxter has resorted to employing stopgap measure, getting former Bafana midfielder Quinton Fortune, under-20 coach Thabo Senong and under-17 coach Molefi Ntseki to assist.

Bafana Bafana's Sifiso Hlanti heads the ball with Libya's Anias Sabbouof during their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Bafana Bafana's Sifiso Hlanti heads the ball with Libya's Anias Sabbouof during their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

The controversy around Baxter roping in his son Lee as goalkeeper coach last week could have been avoided had Safa played their cards openly and informed the nation about its bankruptcy and the fact that they are unable to hire permanent assistant coaches.

Last week Safa media officer Matlhomola Morake had the nerve to bar members of the media from conducting interviews with Lee after his father was accused of nepotism by hiring him as his goalie coach.

Morake, realising the row caused by the appointment, laid down the law. "He is out of bounds for interviews," he boldly said.

Did the directive come from his bosses at Safa or from him? We need an explanation, so that we know in future that there is a standing rule prohibiting assistants from speaking to the media.

Bafana were supposed to play a friendly match in midweek, but that was not to be. Reason? Safa is financially bust, broke. I rest my case.

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