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CAF boss Motsepe intervenes in SA women’s team dispute

Africa football boss Patrice Motsepe has intervened to resolve a dispute between the South African women’s 2023 World Cup squad and the national association, a source told AFP on Tuesday.

The 61-year-old Confederation of African Football (CAF) president hails from South Africa and is expected to reveal details of his mediation in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“This dispute involving the women’s team was a major embarrassment not just for South Africa, but all of Africa,” said a CAF source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Something had to be done, and quickly, with some South African players scheduled to leave for New Zealand tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Insufficient business-class seats means the squad, coaches and officials will travel to New Zealand in two groups on Wednesday and Thursday.

Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the World Cup and African champions South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Zambia are representing the continent.

Motsepe helped resolve issues surrounding contracts, which squad members said did not include the $30,000 (27,500 euros) appearance fee promised by FIFA to each of the 23 players.

This resulted in the team not playing a send-off match against Botswana near Johannesburg last Sunday, and a hastily assembled team of South African lower league players lost 5-0.

Banyana Banyana, The Girls in isiZulu and the popular name of the national team, were also unhappy with the venue, saying they risked injuries on what was considered a sub-standard pitch.

There was also disappointment at the choice of Botswana — a team ranked 96 places below South Africa — with the squad wanting stronger opponents.

Before the farewell match debacle, South Africa beat Uzbekistan, drew with Slovenia and lost to Brazil (twice), Australia and Serbia in warm-ups.

“Safa might feel they have done enough, but I have a different opinion,” forward Jermaine Seoposenwe told the public broadcaster SABC.

“But at the end of the day I am a player and my job is to come here, play and then leave,” added the star from Mexican club CF Monterrey.

Ranked 54th in the world, South Africa are outsiders in Group G, which includes former runners-up Sweden (3), Italy (16) and Argentina (28).

South Africa will play fellow qualifiers Costa Rica in a warm-up match on July 15 before beginning their World Cup campaign eight days later against the Swedes in Wellington.