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Date: 22 April 2019

  African - Soccer

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African circus? Kenya 'dumps' Zambia for Bafana

[Posted 04 Feb 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Kalusha Bwalya is upset that Kenya dumped Chipolopolo in favour of Bafana

In what simulates a circus drama, Burkina Faso, who were pencilled to face Bafana Bafana in a friendly match in Rustenburg on Wednesday 9 February, have apparently pulled out. SAFA immediately contacted Kenya, who decided to ditch Zambia in favour of Bafana.

The Football Association of Zambia President Kalusha Bwalya is understandably upset at what he calls 'unethical' behaviour by the South African Football Association.

Apparently Kenya had agreed to play Zambia in Nairobi on the same date they will now engage Bafana, but after the SAFA approach, decided to pull the rug from underneath the Zambians, leaving the Southern Africans without an opponent on 9 February.

 “There is no way they can do this so soon before the match was going to take place.

"Everyone knew we were supposed to be playing Kenya, but Safa have pushed us out of the way for their own interests and I don’t think that is ethical," fumed Bwalya this week.

Bwalya bemoans the inconvenience Zambia will suffer as a result of the absurd decision by the Harambee Stars to dump them when the Chipolopolo players had geared themselves for a game in Nairobi.

“We have already sent out information to all the players in the squad telling them to report on Sunday for the match. So for Kenya to suddenly pull out boggles the mind.”

In another development, Safa finds themselves under fire for bungling in the recent months.

First, it was the bungling which almost cost the Under 23 national side a place in the All Africa games. The South African soccer governing body had failed to register the Amagluglug for the Mputo 2011 Games.

Fortunately for Safa, Namibia withdrew and Amagluglug got their chance to fight for a place at the All-Africa Games, and are due to play Angola, in a match that has been postponed more than twice already.

Safa was at it it again when they announced the Burkina Faso tie before the deal for the friendly match was sealed. They were left with an egg on their faces when the Burkinables announced that no match would take place.

Now Safa stands accused of unethical behavior by a sister association in the COSAFA region.

“If Safa have negotiated with Kenya at our expense then I don’t think they care about our relationship at all. It’s very sad because I always thought they valued our support,” Kalusha complained. 

The anger of the Zambians at their South African counterparts is understandable.

Unlike Kenya,  FAZ and SAFA are members of the Cosafa family, and it is fair and reasonable for Zambia to expect a more brotherly treatment from South Africa than they perceive they have received in this case.

Safa have an obligation to repair broken bridges with Faz. Kalusha Bwalya supported South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup, which Mzantsi successfully did last year.

Yet the current Safa President Kirsten Nematandani appears to choose to ignore benefits of a good relationship with Faz for just a single match, if his response to the whole fiasco is anything to go by.

“Relationships (with other national associations) are important but we needed a game,” he stated.

“We didn’t know that Kenya already had something arranged and we wouldn’t just go out and snatch an opponent from another country,” Nematandani added.

Whether Nematandani was justifying the action of taking away an opponent from a Southern African sister association by arguing, "...but we needed the game", remains unclear.

It does appear however that according to the Safa president, the need for a friendly match in this case was a more important priority than relations with other associations.

With the benefit of hindsight, president Nematandani may realise that his comment was in bad taste.  



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