Safa: AWOL players were obliged to honour Bafana call-up

Players who made themselves unavailable for Bafana's Australasia tour last month will have the opportunity to present their cases before Safa's disciplinary committee
By Ernest Makhaya

The South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dennis Mumble has confirmed to Goal that the association still hasn't changed their mind about reprimanding certain players who made themselves unavailable for the Australasia tour last month.
Teko Modise and Sthembiso Ngcobo turned down the call-up for the two friendly games, while Orlando Pirates duo - Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Matlaba - pulled out due to 'injuries', but didn't avail themselves to be re-checked by national team doctors as per Fifa rules.
Mumble also confirmed that each of the players will be given a fair chance to present their cases, and he expects the process to start as early as Monday or Tuesday the latest.
"The case will be presented before Safa's disciplinary committee by Monday or Tuesday, and all the players that are in question will have the opportunity to present their cases. 
"We will not charge anyone without hearing their side of the story, but I can confirm that further steps will be taken on those who didn't follow the right procedure when called up to the national team," Mumble told Goal.

The Safa CEO didn't want to speculate as to what kind of punishment will be handed down to the players that will be found guilty for not traveling with the team, but said the disciplinary committee will ensure that every player respects the national team after this investigation.
"I wouldn't know what sort of punishment they will be given if they're found guilty. Whether they will be banned from the national team for a certain period or anything like that will be decided by the disciplinary committee.
"However, as the association we have to ensure that our players respect the national team in future by doing what is right now," he said. 
Mumble dismissed claims that Gordon Igesund didn't follow the right procedure himself when calling the second group of players who pulled out. It emerged during one of the press conferences before Bafana left for the tour that Igesund contacted certain players without talking to their clubs first.
"It doesn't really matter if the coach contacted their teams before speaking to the players or vice-versa. Whichever way it may be, the coach calls the players he feels are fit to represent the national team and this is what's important."

He also emphasized that the two international friendly games were important and that every selected player was obliged to honour the call-up although the games were played outside the Fifa calender.
"Yes, those games were not falling under the Fifa calendar, but that's not the case. We made a request to Fifa 15 years ago about this, because we know the national team can play anytime outside the Fifa date and that means for every fixture, the chosen players should treat that fixture with respect," added Mumble.

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