It was a dark day for South African football as Royal AM boycotted their scheduled play-offs fixture against Chippa United at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Tuesday.
In sensational scenes, only Chippa were ready on the pitch and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) sent out a team sheet for the Eastern Cape side, but did not have one available for the hosts — because they had made a U-turn on their earlier decision to play after arriving at the venue.
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The Durban club had seemed set to reverse a decision made on Monday by owner Shauwn Mkhize, who insisted that the club would not honour Tuesday’s fixture.
Mkhize shared in a video on Instagram that neither she nor Royal AM would be bullied to comply with the PSL’s insistence to complete the playoff schedule.
Despite this, Royal AM staff and players arrived at Chatsworth Stadium an hour before kick-off on Tuesday as they seemed set to comply with the PSL’s directive to continue the promotion play-offs.
Suddenly, however, club staff were seen packing up equipment with players and other members of staff then leaving the stadium.
The club seem to be insisting that the PSL are in direct opposition of an earlier judgment handed down by the Gauteng High Court that the promotion/relegation play-offs be suspended.
Chippa United were seen in TV images taking to the field before the match official called off the match as a result of the no-show by the home side. A judgement will now need to be made by the PSL.
Broos still waiting in Belgium
Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos will again not be in the dugout for the Cosafa Cup taking place in Gqeberha next month.
Broos, who is yet to make his Bafana debut in the technical area, is still in Belgium waiting on his second vaccination jab before he truly begins his quest as boss.
He also missed the recent friendly against Uganda in Johannesburg.
The South African Football Association (Safa) released a statement revealing that assistant coach Helman Mkhalele will be in charge of the senior national team for the two-week Cosafa tournament.
Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows)
Defenders: Rushine de Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns), Denwin Farmer (Baroka), Happy Mashiane (Kaizer Chiefs), Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs), Njabulo Ngcobo (Moroka Swallows), Keenan Phillips (SuperSport United), Mashweu Mphahlele (Baroka), Sifiso Ngobeni (Bloemfontein Celtic), Bongani Sam (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Sphelele Mkhulise (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United), Goodman Mosele (Baroka)
Strikers: Kgaogelo Sekgota (Moroka Swallows), Tiklas Thutlwa (Black Leopards), Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates), Tshegofatso Mabasa (Orlando Pirates).
Mkhalele will be assisted by under-17 coach Vela Khumalo. The former Bafana Bafana winger, known as ‘Midnight Express’, has named a 20-man squad as South Africa seek to get valuable minutes on the pitch ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ghana and Zimbabwe in September.
It is a youthful side and the likes of Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Thabiso Kutumela and Percy Tau have missed out.
Bruce Bvuma, Sifiso Mlungwana, Njabulo Ngcobo, Ethan Brooks and Tiklas Thutlwa made the cut, while Williams and Kutumela are expected to be unveiled in the Olympic squad for the under-23s.
The Cosafa Cup kicks off on Wednesday, July 7, and the final takes place on Sunday, July 18. Bafana Bafana are in Group A with Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho.