This is the start of a “new era”, declared caretaker coach Owen da Gama.
The side issues of Mokotjo’s eligibility and the question marks over
World governing body Fifa this week banned Ghanaian referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey for life after he was found guilty of unlawfully influencing match results during the 2018 World Cup qualifying match between
“We are focusing on these two games at hand, and that’s the most important thing. Administrative things that happen off the field we don’t focus on, whether it is the weather conditions or the flying time,” said Da Gama when asked if allegations of match-fixing surrounding the November win over
“That is an administrative question. Whatever happens, happens. We don’t want any distractions, so we didn’t even discuss it with the players.”
As for Mokotjo, his acquisition of Dutch citizenship last year cast doubts over his eligibility to represent
The Netherlands-based midfielder retired from international football after a fallout with former coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, but recently expressed his desire to be reconsidered.
On Thursday night, the South African Football Association received an assurance from the Department of Home Affairs that Netherlands-based Mokotjo should be eligible to resume his South African citizenship.
The midfielder gave up his citizenship when he acquired Dutch papers. However, he expressed his desire to rejoin the national squad and went through the administrative process of writing a motivation to the department to resume South African nationality.
A statement from the department said Mokotjo’s documents should be in order by the close of business on Friday.
Mokotjo, 26, has been playing in
Regardless, Da Gama was upbeat about the national team’s prospects and promised to give a run to several players who were called to the camp for the first time. Among them are strikers Phakamani Mahlambi and Luther Singh, and defender Lorenzo Gordinho.
The attacking duo helped
“It’s a new era. I’m here for these two games. A new coach will come in and it will be a new era for moving forward. There are so many other players that are waiting to come into the fold.
“Bongani Zungu in
Whether it’s against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau on Saturday afternoon or against Angola at the Buffalo City Stadium on Tuesday (7pm), the coach will give everyone a run, but within a solid team structure aimed at winning the games.