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'It is disrespectful and also defamation of character,' Safa responds to Sundowns coach Mokwena.

Thulani Ngwenya, the chief medical officer of the South African Football Association (Safa), has responded to Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena's suggestion that his players return from national duty with injuries or weariness.

Instead of discussing Sundowns' 2-2 tie with Congolese club AS Maniema Union in a Caf Champions League match on Sunday afternoon, Mokwena chose to use the opportunity to lash out at Bafana Bafana and the Safa medical department, which Ngwenya found disappointing.

Many individuals at Safa House were upset by the Sundowns coach's comments, as he implied that the Pretoria club is unable to interact with members of the medical department, that they are unaware of Bafana's training regimen, and that the national team's schedule is never shared with them.

Ngwenya was not amused, and on Thursday he expressed his displeasure to TimesLIVE.

"First and foremost, I am disappointed that technical people are discussing medical problems," the enraged Safa top medical doctor stated flatly.

"I recently received a report from Dr. Tshepo Molobi. He copied me on every medical correspondence because he copies me on all medical correspondence. Mamelodi Sundowns received it. It's simply unfortunate."

According to Ngwenya, the Safa physical trainer also made a point of discussing the players' GPS results with their Sundowns counterparts.

"I'm disappointed [because] it suggests Sundowns' technical staff isn't interacting with the club's medical department, assuming there is one." But I've personally spoken to both Dr Carl Tabane and Dr Paul Maphoto [both Sundowns medical staff members] about their athletes.

"It's just upsetting when a coach [Mokwena] says stuff like that," he remarked.

"It appears that we are not being professional, which is regrettable. Sundowns have had coaches before the present coaches [Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi, and Steve Komphela], and the former coach [Pitso Mosimane] before the current coaches [Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi, and Steve Komphela] have never complained that we do not send them reports."

In the build-up to the recent back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia, an enraged Bafana coach Hugo Broos accused Sundowns and Orlando Pirates of obstructing his plans.

The Bafana Bafana won both home and away matches against the East Africans [3-1 and 1-0, respectively], but Broos dominated the news after claiming that there were attempts to sabotage his work.

Mokwena then fired back a few days ago, claiming that key players Thapelo Morena, Rushine de Reuck, Thabiso Kutumela, and Mothobi Mvala had returned from national duty in bad form, among other things.

"But, jah, it is what it is; our job is to concentrate on what we can concentrate on, and to try to control what we can control." And while we will always look to support the national cause as Mamelodi Sundowns, it is sad that during the last two international breaks [when] we got our players, they returned with injury issues, many of which are muscular," Mokwena added in his Sunday letter.

"Muscular issues, on the other hand, communicate to you about training load and match load. We need to improve in that area and figure out how to strengthen links between clubs and the national team. I see [Pirates player] Vincent Pule has also been ruled out, so something is going on in that area that I am not sure about." On Thursday, he remarked, "If you remember last year, we toured all the teams with [former Bafana coach] Molefi Ntseki."

"I mean, why are we suddenly unable to communicate?" What I'm really asking is that technical people leave medical issues to medical professionals. They should not enlist the help of medical professionals when they have their own problems to deal with, since this is unfortunate.

These and other statements made by Mokwena irritated Ngwenya and Safa, with the chief medical doctor taking a dim view of the remarks.

"When it comes to medical difficulties, you're dealing with sensitive issues, and there are some things we can't say in the media due to the ethical code that governs us." As a result, it's awful that you have a technical person who would criticize another professional so harshly.

“It's degrading and defamatory of character because it implies that you're not a professional. That does not sit well with me."The leaders of Safa and Sundowns are due to meet soon in an attempt to clear the air and de-escalate the situation.

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Mokwena Pretoria Safa South African Football Association Sundowns


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