Ajax, who met with Safa yesterday, claimed they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to ‘secure the safety of our players’ ahead of their trip to Angola to face Sagrada Esperanca in the first leg of their preliminary round tie in Lunda Norte, which is more than 1 000km from the capital Luanda.
The Urban Warriors said in a statement released four days ago that they had made ‘multiple efforts’ to get all arrangements in place, but had not had any feedback from the Angolan Football Federation who, according to CAF guidelines, are supposed to handle all the travel preparations as the host association for Saturday’s match.
The move by the club appears to have been a total disregard of the rules. It is the football mother body Safa, not the clubs, with the authority to communicate directly with CAF regarding continental competitions.
In a strongly worded three-page letter seen by The Star, Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble reprimands Ajax and reminds them to attend a workshop along with Kaizer Chiefs, Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns - the other three teams from South Africa participating in CAF competitions this year.
The scheduled workshops were held yesterday at the Safa headquarters in Nasrec.
“You have no right to address CAF without the consent of the association,” the letter read.
“Safa decided to enter Ajax in the Confederation Cup and shall decide its continued participation in or withdrawal from the competition.
“The association takes a dim view of its members bringing the association into disrepute by communicating matters to the media or general public that affects matters under its jurisdiction and its image.”
Mumble confirmed yesterday that Safa had put Ajax at ease following discussion, including a phone call to the Angola FA to address concerns raised by this season's MTN8 champions.
“We do not want to be insensitive, so as a result we guaranteed them that we would work with our embassy and state security to make sure we have measures in place for their trip,” the Safa chief executive said.
“They are fine now and will continue, and I want to stress that we are in this together as it was never about Ajax or Safa. It is us together.
“I had a one-on-one with them to communicate our stance and to reiterate that the association speaks on the club's behalf. They then proceeded to the workshops.”
Ajax, who had not retracted the statement posted on their website on Friday, would have faced a maximum three-year ban from CAF competitions because of the withdrawal. The second leg against Sagrada Esperanca is scheduled for February 26 at the Cape Town Stadium. - The Star
Original source: Safa gets firm with Ajax