Illegal Games Emerge As SAFA Cape Town Calls for 3rd Division Be Scrapped

Staff Writer, 20 May 2020

Despite football being on lockdown, there has been an emergence of social matches being played in certain communities across the Cape Metropole, according to SAFA Cape Town.

This comes as uncertainty continues about the resumption of amateur sport activities in the region, with the coronavirus infections and deaths rising at an alarming rate and experts predicting the worst is still to come.

“We strongly condemn these adhoc games and request the SAPS to take the necessary actions and implore the City of Cape Town law enforcement officers to fulfil their functions, ensuring that the sport and recreation facilities remain closed,” said SAFA Cape Town President, Bennett Bailey, at a virtual press conference today.

He said although they cannot blame the Local Football Associations, the region accepts that they need to explain the rank and emphasise the seriousness of the pandemic. “This virus does not move, unless it is moved by people. Therefore, we should restrict our movements and in so doing, restrict the spread of the virus. Football is healthy. We implore that all our members uphold the law, wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing and practice good basic hygiene.”

Bailey said their biggest concern was the resumption of football activity as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, and that they will continue to feed all the information to their members as released by authorities.

Experts have predicted that the peak of the coronavirus will be in August, which is at the end of the normal football season. “But as leaders we must always create hope. Although at times the situation is dire, there is always hope. The sooner we flatten the curve and manage the infection rate the sooner we can get back to football. Even if we must start football in October or November with just special competitions, football shall be played. But it must be played in a safe environment”.

When the games were halted in March, SAFA Third Division, for instance, was left with 13 to 15 games, and Bailey said they have proposed to SAFA National that all games be declared null and void, and that there should be no promotion or relegation. “We cannot determine which team will be winners. Last year teams that were leading did not win the league. So we can’t say the team that is leading now must be winners and the bottom two must be relegated. We are putting strongly to SAFA that if games are not going to be played further (this season) there should be no promotion or relegation. And now we await the guidance from SAFA National”. 

Bailey said adjustments needed to be made under the “new normal which is abnormal”, and his organisation has managed to do so with ease. Meetings have been taking place,and  the weekly football technique training session and fitness tips, all of which take place online via the various conference applications. It was also the case for the coaching courses. “We are in talks with SAFA National about adopting this method as it is accessible and affordable. We will eliminate about 70% of the cost to host such a course online”.