Sports minister Fikile Mbalula.

Cape Town - Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula believes that the recent match fixing scandal involving Safa has cast a dark cloud over South African football and damaged the good reputation built by the 2010 World Cup.

It was reported on Tuesday that five top Safa officials, including its president Kirsten Nematandani, had been suspended after being identified in a match fixing report by Fifa.

The Fifa report also mentioned another four top-level officials which also linked Safa to convicted match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal for four matches Bafana played before the World Cup.

According to the SABC Mbalula said: “I have been in touch with Safa and the vice-president of Safa, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, to get a report.

Of course this throws a dark cloud over South African football ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations. But over and above that we have never been a nation that has been caught up in such allegations of match fixing.”

Nonkonyana has been appointed interim president of Safa as the suspended officials will have to prove their innocence before a commission of inquiry.

With the African Cup of Nations just over a month away the minister has raised concerns of the match-fixing scandal hampering the country’s preparations for the continental showpiece.

The suspensions were announced in a statement by Safa on Tuesday and the statement insisted that the decision should in no way imply the officials’ guilt in the matter.

Football fans across the country have not been pleased with the scandal.

Some fans have, however, commended the swift action of Safa in suspending the officials with immediate effect.

Cape Argus