JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – The South African Football Association (SaFa) has been branded a “disgrace” by sports minister Fikile Mbalula for its reaction to the country not reaching the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Officials lodged a hasty formal appeal with the organisers against the head-to-head system used to separate teams when Niger emerged shock winners of a group having finished level on points with South Africa and Sierra Leone.
Players, coaches and officials thought goal difference decided who finished first and celebrated after a 0-0 home draw with Sierra Leone while local broadcasters and reporters also believed South Africa had qualified.
“It is unfortunate we misread the rules of the tournament. This is a serious blunder … the rules are in black and white,” Mbalula said after a weekend when Safa came under renewed media fire.
“This is a national disgrace. People resign because of such failures in other countries. This is unacceptable. You cannot argue with CAF (Confederation of African Football) as they will put you in your place.”