Pitso, Safa settle out of court

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iol spt feb11 Pitso Gallo Images Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane admits its impossible for teams to fully commit to all four domestic tournaments. Photo: Lefty Shivambu

The long-running dispute between the SA Football Association and former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has been settled out of court.

“Yes, we have reached an agreement,” said Safa spokesman Dominic Chimhavi. But a few minutes later, he called this reporter to say he had received a “directive” from the association not to comment. “My superiors say it’s an internal matter and we should not be commenting,” he claimed without revealing his said “superiors”.

Mosimane’s lawyer Rod Harper also confirmed the settlement. “We agreed to settle out of court on Friday and everything has been finalised. The matter was supposed to come before the Labour Court (yesterday),” Harper said.

Mosimane took Safa to court after he was fired in June 2012 following Bafana’s 1-1 draw in the home World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia, making him the only Bafana coach to be fired for a draw. But that match was preceded by a winless run that stretched for seven matches, during which time Bafana failed to qualify for the Africa Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon.

With his contract worth R9.6 million per year at the time, Mosimane initially sought to claim nearly R20m from Safa as he still had two years on his agreement, but his lawyers revised the claim to around R10m. Safa, on the other hand, offered him just R5m, pleading poverty, which Mosimane rejected and hired Harper, of Cowan-Harper Attorneys, to go the legal route on his behalf.

Harper maintained yesterday that The Star’s figures were “completely wrong”, but would not divulge how much Safa have agreed to pay his client. “I’m bound by confidentiality. We said the agreement details should be a secret but the figures I’ve heard are completely wrong.”

Harper added he was confident Mosimane would have won had the case proceeded to court, as he claimed unfair dismissal, pointing out that Safa could not prove the former national coach would not have led Bafana to the World Cup finals after drawing just one match. But Safa countered he had failed to perform.

Mosimane spent nearly six months in the wilderness before signing as head coach with Mamelodi Sundowns in December 2012, a position he still has. He didn’t wish to comment yesterday.

Ironically, Mosimane’s successor Gordon Igesund also could not lead Bafana to the World Cup and may have to fight for survival when he appears before the Safa international affairs and technical committees this week. - The Star

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