Johannesburg - Five Kaizer Chiefs players failed to pitch for the 23-man Bafana Bafana squad's camp in Cape Town on Thursday, ahead of CAF's African Champions tournament (CHAN), starting on January 11.
“I'm waiting for the Chiefs' contingent to make an appearance. Everything was sorted out. There is no reason why they should not be here,” said Bafana coach Gordon Igesund.
A simmering, potentially explosive controversy about whether the reigning Premier League champions would release Siphiwe Tshabalala, Itumeleng Khune, Bernard Parker, Tsepo Masilela and Tefo Mashamaite had apparently been settled.
“We are in discussions with Chiefs over the issue,” said Safa media director, Dominic Chimhavi.
“At this point there are no problems over the 18 other players who will be representing South Africa in the Caf tournament,” he said.
The PSL clubs are not obliged to release their players for CHAN, a 16-nation event limited to home-based players, which is not recognised as an official tournament by Fifa.
As a result of a backlog in fixtures, notably involving Orlando Pirates, The Buccaneers and their opponents in Premier League matches coinciding with CHAN were released from joining the Bafana squad under what SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan described as “a mutually acceptable and amicable settlement.”
Under the agreement between Safa and the PSL, the Premier League clash between Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns was switched from January 28 to January 23.
Players were temporarily released from the Bafana squad to participate in this top-of-the-log Premier League encounter.
However, putting a spoke in the conciliatory wheel, Chiefs' general manager Bobby Motaung said The Amakhosi would release their players only after the match against Sundowns, and that they would not be allowed to play in the CHAN event.
His provocative stance emerged in spite of the fact that his father and legendary Chiefs' chairman and founder Kaizer Motaung was party to the settlement.
“Of the six Chiefs players originally selected by coach Igesund for the CHAN tournament only Reneilwe Letsholonyane was withdrawn, and this because of a serious leg injury,” said Chimhavi.
He had no comment on Bobby Motaung's statement.
“... The agreement was reached with Kaizer Motaung, and that speaks for itself,” he said. - Sapa