Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw blasts Sascoc in emotional tirade
Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw has made a startling claim – one that her association would not substantiate – that the team were left scrambling this week to book accommodation for the Rio Olympics‚ and without accreditation for several members of their travelling party.
Pauw questioned the role that Sascoc (the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) had played‚ saying that four players and four technical staff have been left high and dry without accreditation and accommodation in the Olympic Village.
However‚ SA Football Association communications director Dominic Chimhavi said Sascoc are “within their rights” allocating accreditation and the amount of places in the village‚ and that Safa have been in communication with the Olympic body regarding the matter.
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Pauw was angry because she said only Banyana out of the 12 teams who have qualified for the Olympic women’s football tournament in August‚ have not been able to accredit their full squad.
She said the women’s national team have been sent between global football body Fifa‚ the International Olympic Committee and Sascoc to try to resolve their accommodation and accreditation issues.
“There is a list of 18 players on the squad sheet. There are four additional [alternate] players that Fifa demands. Fifa demands 12 technical staff members – we are actually going with 11‚” Pauw said on Tuesday‚ ahead of Banyana’s departure for Chicago where they meet USA in a friendly on Saturday.
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“All the other countries at the Olympics have all of them in the Olympic village. We have not had accreditation for the four extra players‚ and we have four technical team members not accredited. So the team is split.
“We have been receiving communication from Fifa that they [Fifa] have communicated with the IOC‚ and that we are not allowed to book our own accommodation – and that Sascoc must book it.
“It ended up that yesterday [on Monday] we did it ourselves because all the accommodation was filled. We now have a situation that even the ones staying outside the Olympic village cannot stay in the same hotel because all the rooms were already taken.”
Pauw said the unaccredited players and technical staff have consequently not been able to be provided with the squad kit.
“We are trying now to assemble what kit we have left from the All Africa Games. But for the biggest tournament we have qualified for‚ this is not ideal‚” she said.
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“The unaccredited members will be able to attend training sessions because that is accredited under Fifa. But we need to get them there with all the problems‚ and the team being split‚ and not having transport for them.
“We don’t have kit for the unaccredited technical staff. That means the basic principles of a team-building process‚ where everybody is in the same kit‚ cannot be met.”
Sascoc president Gideon Sam said he was surprised by Pauw’s allegations.
“Our account is the number as per the competition rules of the particular federation‚” Sam said.
“And the final decision is taken by Safa. Safa will bring to us a team and say‚ ‘This is Banyana Banyana‚ this is the coach‚ this is the manager and these are the technical officials’.
“It’s the federation [Safa] that gives us those names‚ and we go with the names. Once we’ve got the names it’s our responsibility to get them to and back from the Olympics.”
Safa’s Chimhavi appeared equally taken aback by Pauw’s allegations.
“What Gideon Sam is trying to say is that Safa should look at how they [Safa] can accommodate their extra squad members. Which is very fair from Sascoc and I totally agree with Mr Sam’s statement‚” Chimhavi said.
“What we did is we wrote to Sascoc to ask‚ if they can make provision for our extra technical people. And we would cover the bill. Sascoc is right – the bill comes to us for any extra people.
“Sascoc cannot accommodate any additional people who are not within their specifications. We have written to them to say we would want to carry extra people‚ like our own doctor and masseuse. But we will cover the costs for those people.”
The IOC’s rules for the Olympic women’s football tournament would also not appear to support Pauw’s complaints.
They state: “In addition to the 18 players ofﬁcially enrolled for each of the ﬁnal competitions‚ each association is allowed‚ if deemed necessary‚ to select a maximum of four alternate players per team‚ who shall appear in the provisional and the ﬁnal list of players and ofﬁcials‚ but shall not be ofﬁcially enrolled for the competition … .” Banyana are drawn with hosts Brazil‚ China and Sweden at the Olympics.