The Buccaneers sent a letter to Safa on Monday requesting the player be released from national team duty for the game against Canada on Tuesday so that he may begin preparing for the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
But it is a move that has incensed the Bafana technical team – especially as the club played Bennett Chenene in the Moqhaka Charity Cup on Sunday when he should have been in camp with the national team – and they have refused to release the player.
“He is still with us and will remain so for the game against Canada,” Nkumane says. “We will be writing to Fifa to express our disappointment at the actions of Pirates, who cannot recall a player to training on a Fifa date set for internationals.”
The move by Pirates will be seen by many as counter-productive to the national cause. Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has said time and again expressed how important each and every match is in the build-up to the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana in January, and he will view this game against Canada as crucial in defining his squad.
That the letter from Pirates was signed by their team manager, Shakes Mashaba, himself a former Bafana coach who should know the rules that govern Fifa international dates, will be even more frustrating for the national team’s management.