Bafana Bafana in their Damat suits as they prepared to travel to Egypt for the African Cup of Nations. Photo: BackpagePix
Cape Town – That Bafana Bafana wore imported apparel while travelling to and from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) was simply a matter of counting rands and cents, SA Football Association (Safa) spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said on Tuesday.

Clothing store Proudly SA and the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) on Tuesday said they “noted with dismay” photos of Bafana Bafana travelling to and from Egypt wearing wholly imported suits sponsored by Damat.

They said while they understood financial imperatives of sourcing clothing sponsors for on and off the field, they condemned the choice of imported items when there were quality equivalents available.

“The economic climate and high unemployment rate, including the high number of jobs that remain at risk, requires all our support.

“National sporting teams receive enormous support from South Africans and we call on them at least to support the economic agenda of the country.

“On the specific matter of the Bafana Bafana foreign suits, Sactwu and Proudly SA call on Safa to immediately engage local suit manufacturers to find a local alternative, and both organisations are on hand to assist with finding these alternatives.

“If President Ramaphosa can go to great lengths to source local suits as in his State of the Nation address example, why can Safa not do so?”

Chimhavi on Tuesday lambasted Proudly SA and Sactwu’s comments, saying no local manufacturer offered to sponsor the team.

Chimhavi said the team had struggled to get sponsorship, and could not refuse the apparel.

“They should not grandstand, or politicise the issue. No one wanted to provide sponsorship, no locals sponsored.

“Should we have refused the sponsorship? We struggled to get it to start with,” Chimhavi said.

Bafana Bafana arrived at OR Tambo International Airport from Egypt on Saturday following their exit from the Afcon, where they reached the quarter-finals, losing 2-1 to Nigeria last Wednesday.

Cape Times