20.05.2005 Football News

Gambia'05: SAFA apologise on behalf of official

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(William Ezah, GNA Special Correspondent, Banjul, The Gambia)

Banjul, Gambia, May 20, GNA - The South Africa Football Association (SAFA) has rendered an unqualified apology to the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) for the behaviour of their goalkeepers' trainer, Mr Alex Heredia after the semi final match between The Gambia and South Africa in the Sixth Africa Under 17 championship last Tuesday. This followed the decision of the Disciplinary Committee of CAF to suspend Mr Heredia from all CAF activities, pending the meeting of the committee in Cairo, Egypt on May 27.

CAF on Thursday confirmed to the GNA Sports that, they had received an official apology from SAFA concerning the issue and it would be forwarded to the disciplinary committee when it meets later in the month.

Mr Heredia, according to Mr Fatou Sarr Ba of Senegal, Commissioner for the said match, in the presence of the international press accosted the Head of State of the Gambia Republic and made derogatory remarks about CAF, the competition and the match officials.

The coordinators of the match also reported that the South African had disrespected them and encouraged his players to disobey their instructions.

Mr Abdel Moneim Hussein, Acting General Secretary and Director of Football Development Division of CAF told the GNA Sports that the Confederation had received a letter of apology from the SAFA president, expressing regret for the conduct of their official.

He added that the Confederation had also received a similar letter of apology from Mr Heredia on Thursday.

Mr Hussein who quoted part of the letter to the GNA Sports said, Mr Heredia conceded that he had made a mistake by putting up such behaviour and promised not to repeat it in future.

According to the Acting General Secretary, all the letters would be put before the committee at its hearing later in the month for a final determination of the case.

He said the accused would also be given the opportunity to defend himself.

The Disciplinary Committee of CAF, last Wednesday, suspended Mr Heredia, an official of South Africa, temporary from all its activities. South Africa lost the said match 2-1 to The Gambia, the host nation and will vie with Cote D'Ivoire for the last ticket for Peru on Saturday.

Mr Heredia becomes the third person to face the wrath of CAF in the competition, after Nigeria and Zimbabwe were each fined 1000 dollars for not printing the names of their players at the back of their jerseys in some of their matches.

The South African was alleged to have accused the Gambians for using over aged players. He also blasted the match officials in the presence of the President of the Gambia and other CAF officials for bias officiating.

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