Club asks for top players to be released from friendly
Mamelodi Sundowns have written to the South African Football Association (Safa) asking that their players not be used in the Bafana Bafana friendly against Ghana next Tuesday.
Keagan Dolly‚ Hlompho Kekana‚ Tebogo Langerman and new signing Sibusiso Vilakazi have all been included in the squad for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier and next Tuesday’s friendly against Ghana in Durban.
But Sundowns want Dolly‚ Kekana and Langerman returned to them after the weekend game in Ouagadougou as they prepare for the first leg of the final against Egypt’s Zamalek in Atteridgeville on October 15.
“We have sent a letter to them to ask that they be released ahead of the Ghana match because we need them for our Champions League game‚” coach Pitso Mosimane said.
He admitted the club had botched a similar request before the last two Bafana Bafana outings.
Mosimane had used a press conference before the two September internationals against Mauritania and Egypt to question why Sundowns players had been called up for meaningless matches.
He said then that if he had been in charge of the national team, he would not have used them‚ so allowing them to rest and be fresher for the Champions League campaign.
But national coach Shakes Mashaba ignored the call and used Dolly‚ Kekana and Langerman in both the Nations Cup qualifier against Mauritania and the subsequent 1-0 win over the Pharaohs in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
A defiant Mashaba criticised Mosimane’s approach and said if he had been asked, he would have acceded to the Sundowns’ request.
Now that a formal letter has been sent‚ Mashaba will be under pressure to keep to his word and let the Sundowns trio return to their club from Monday onwards.
Vilakazi is not registered to play in the Champions League so would be able to play in Bafana’s friendly against the Black Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Mosimane said: “Going to Ouagadougou is difficult but it is a World Cup [qualifier] and I expect my players to have the chance to go the World Cup.”
“There is no excuse – they must be on the flight to go there. “But I don’t know about the friendly.”
“Last time, we didn’t address it well‚ so we sent a letter again to do it the right way but it is not my call‚” he said.