Due to an unprecedented number of disputes by third-tier clubs, the 15th Safa Second Division Play-Offs, which were due to begin on Monday 24 June, have been delayed for almost a month.
In fact, the situation is so dismal that Safa has only been able to officially declare one winner, Vardos of Gauteng, meaning the other eight provincial candidates all hoping for promotion to the NFD’s professional ranks, must now wait for their cases to be heard before the competition can begin.
Jeff Monnakgotla, Safa’s national director of competitions confirmed the new dates to Soccer-Laduma.
“The tournament will take place between the 22nd and 28th July,” he says. “The point is we want to give ourselves four weeks to sort out everything once and for all. I said to my principles we’d rather take flack for the postponement than to proceed will all sorts of litigations left, right and centre.”
But one club, Bay Stars of Port Elizabeth, who are linked to the Nelson Mandela University and are fighting Mthatha Bucks over an alleged fraudulent document, are furious as the new dates correspond with an annual Varsity Football Cup.
“This change gives me a headache,” a Stars’ source explains. “It’s crazy, I have five good students in the team that need to go for Varsity soccer which starts on 22 July. We never expected this delay!”
Another example of a dispute is in the Western Cape, where log leaders Cape Town All Stars had nine points deducted but are now facing an arbitration case with Glendene after an appeal, while representatives from the other six regions also lock horns in a bid to make it to the play-offs which will be hosted by Safa Ekurhuleni.
However, the two clubs that are eventually promoted to the NFD will have very little time to prepare for the new 2013/14 season!