Thulas Nxesi Photo: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi says the unfortunate and current standoff between the South African Football Association (SAFA) and some Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs regarding their refusal to release players to perform national duty is a serious matter.

Nxesi says it denies the Under-20 squad the muscle to go give their best in the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Korea.

“It also denies young players valuable international experience and the pride of representing their country. The struggle for the release of players is an historical problem of club versus country.

“SAFA and government has affirmed on many occasion that it is our patriotic duty and an essential part of government priorities of social cohesion and nation building that our best possible team, represent the country in any major tournament on the world stage including the Under-20 FIFA World Cup.

“It remains the responsibility of all clubs therefore to continue to encourage our talented young stars to go and become good ambassadors and positive role models for all their peers by enabling them to take part in international competitions and events.

“SAFA failed on a number of occasions to strike a compromise with PSL therefore leading to the current impasse. It has therefore requested me to investigate what legislative options exist to ensure that our country is represented by our best available talent.

“I urge the parties to find a solution in the short-term,” added the Minister.

African News Agency