PSL set to turn down CAF Super League call for Mamelodi Sundowns

PSL set to turn down CAF Super League call for Mamelodi Sundowns

The Confederation of African Football yesterday confirmed the breakdown for the prize money ahead of the Super League kick-off next month, but SABC Sport has learnt of a potential impasse and a showdown is expected in the few days between the interested parties.

It’s emerged the Premier Soccer League, following an urgent board of governors [BOG] meeting held on Thursday in Hyde Park, resolved to turn down an invitation for Mamelodi Sundowns to participate in the continental tournament citing a fixture congestion after the late confirmation on when the Super League would get underway. 

CAF revealed the winners of the competition would pocket a whopping R75-million, with the first game already scheduled in Tanzania between the host club Simba SC and Al Ahly of Egypt on October 20. 

Sundowns are then joined by Enyimba [Nigeria], Wydad Casablanca [Morocco], TP Mazembe [DR Congo], Esperance [Tunisia] and Petro de Luanda [Angola]. 

The Brazilians have been drawn to face Petro a day after the opening clash of the much anticipated Super League, referred to by CAF as the African Football League and abbreviated as AFL. 

But information gathered by SABC Sport indicates that Sundowns’ participation hangs in the balance, and the current DStv Premiership champions could be forced to use two separate squads. 

However, even that idea is understood to have already been shut down by the PSL because, according to officials who were part of the BOG, this would “bring the league into disrepute”. 

The PSL has also questioned the manner in which the communication from CAF came about as the letter had an address in Rwanda instead of the continental motherbody’s office in Cairo, Egypt. 

But this is only because CAF has outsourced the operation of this tournament to an independent company with origins from Italy and they have set up a base in Rwanda where they are running the tournament. 

It remains to be seen what further steps both the league and SAFA, who would have been in constant discussions with CAF as overseers of football in South Africa, will take to try to handle the impasse and potential showdown.  

Initially, the AFL – alleged to be a brainchild of FIFA President Gianni Infantino – was set to start with 24 teams, and Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, and Orlando Pirates were touted as possible SA representatives with an overall prize money of $100 million.

But the lack of sponsorships and adjustments in the first year has seen CAF and the organizers reducing it to only eight teams with the promise that they would revert to the original plan in its second season. 

SAFA on Sunday night issued a vague statement backing the AFL, calling it a “development and growth” of the game in Africa. 

It read in part: “SAFA fully supports the decisions that were taken by the CAF Ordinary General Assembly in Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire and furthermore supports the participation by the South African national team and football clubs in all CAF competitions.” 

Their leadership marshalled by President Danny Jordaan and representatives from Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs had previously attended meetings to give updates on the preparations for this tournament. 

CAF member associations also stand to benefit from the proceeds of this tournament, and there would also be extra benefits for organizations like SAFA with teams taking part in the tournament.  

While CAF and SAFA have been vocal about the AFL, the PSL has yet to say anything publicly with no official from the league keen to be drawn into any discussions publicly through any media channels.  

By: Mazola Molefe & Velile Mnyandu