Safa apologise for Bafana's Afcon failure

20 October 2011

SA Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani has apologised to South Africa for Bafana Bafana's "inexcusable" failure to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (Afcon).

"On behalf of Safa, I would like to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise to the entire nation for the failure by Bafana Bafana to qualify for the Afcon finals scheduled for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon early next year," Nematandani said on Wednesday.

He said the celebration following the final group match against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit, by Bafana players who thought they had qualified for Afcon 2012, had embarrassed the nation.

He added that, given the available resources and talent in South Africa, Bafana's failure was inexcusable.

"As the president of the association, I would like to own up and say we are profoundly sorry for letting the nation down," he told reporters at Safa House in Johannesburg.

'Unacceptable' not to know the rules

A Confederation of African Football (Caf) ruling eliminated Bafana Bafana, despite their finishing on top of Group G on goal difference.

Caf invoked Rule 14.1, which states that in case two or more teams end on equal points after all group matches are played, a greater number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned will determine the group winner.

Nematandani said the failure by Bafana's technical team to acquaint themselves with Caf rules was unacceptable. "We will look into our internal structures to make sure people are held accountable and that such glaring errors are not repeated in future."

This is the second consecutive time Bafana Bafana have failed to qualify for the Afcon finals, following the Angola 2010 disappointment. Nematandani said Safa would endeavour to ensure that this did not happen again.

"Once more, I would like to pledge to the people of this rainbow nation that we will do our utmost to ensure that we restore national pride within our national team.

"We sincerely regret letting the nation down and would again request the nation to forgive us for the trouble we put them through. We will rise again and make the nation proud."

Pitso apologises, keeps his job

Safa CEO Robin Petersen apologised on behalf of Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane.

"The coach has asked me to apologise to the nation on his behalf for the failure of the team to qualify," Petersen said. "We've accepted his apology to the association, and have undertaken to give him the support he needs to build Bafana into a winning team."

Petersen said a process of internal engagement regarding the mistakes that had been made had already begun. In due course, appropriate action would be taken where necessary.

"We are currently analysing our existing systems, structures, roles and responsibility matrices, as well as our operational checklists, to ascertain why things went wrong and to ensure that something like this can never happen again."

Caf appeal withdrawn

Regarding their appeal to Caf, Petersen said: "We've decided that the best way to address this situation is to withdraw our appeal, and will not pursue any other legal route that might have been open to us."

However, he said they would submit their concerns around Rule 14 to Caf and ask them to address this at an appropriate forum.

"From the beginning, we've asserted the purpose of our intention to appeal was not to seek to challenge the results of the qualifying matches or to find a legal 'back-door' deal into the finals.

"We've primarily sought to assert and show that Rule 14 should be reviewed and altered in the future to prevent such situations from happening again."

Source: BuaNews

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A Bafana Bafana fan exhorts his team at a match between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea in Pretoria on 7 June 2008. The real Bafana pitched up on that occasion: they won 4-1 (Photo: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com)

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