THE South African Football Association (Safa) is continuing with preparations for next month's African Nations Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Egypt, and will not be drawn into commenting on reports that the Egyptians are trying to seek a postponement of the encounter.
Egypt's football association is reportedly planning to send a letter to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) tomorrow to ask for the game to be postponed to June because of the recent political unrest in the North African country.
But Safa communications director Morio Sanyane said yesterday the request would be strange as the match was meant to take place in SA on March 26, and not in Egypt.
"In matters like these, Fifa and Caf do not usually postpone matches," Sanyane said.
"They usually take matches like these to neutral venues if the home team is unable to meet guarantees around security.
"In this case the match is not in Egypt and will take place in SA. Anyway, what we know is that the game is still on."
Sanyane said Safa had elected to continue with preparations to host Egypt because there had been no word yet from Caf.
"This whole thing is like rumour administration, really. The fact is this is not a friendly match and in terms of protocol, they are supposed to consult Caf and not the media.
"We can only be advised by Caf and nobody else. Until there is official correspondence from Caf, we are continuing with our preparations as originally planned."
The unrest in Egypt led to the indefinite suspension of the North African country's league programme and even an international friendly against the US that was supposed to be held in Cairo last month was cancelled.
"The team must have suffered a dip in form after the league was halted, so we want to put off the game with SA," Egypt's assistant coach, Hamada Sedki, was quoted as saying yesterday.
It remains to be seen whether Caf will oblige.
Bafana are top of Group G while the Egyptians are surprisingly rooted to the bottom of the standings. A defeat for Egypt in SA would all but end their chances of qualifying for the 2012 tournament to be jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The Egyptians have been the dominant force on the continent over the past few years but may not be around to defend a continental title they have won for the past three years in a row.
With just one team set to qualify from the group, the Egyptians' apprehension is understandable.
n Truant Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela went before the club's disciplinary committee yesterday and pleaded guilty to all charges relating to his refusal to attend training last month.
According to a statement from Sundowns, Mphela was slapped with "the harshest penalty ever imposed" by the Pretoria club. "It was short of a dismissal," the club's statement said, without elaborating the extent of the punishment.
"Killer (Mphela) showed remorse for his actions and he understands the reason for the severe sanction.
"This matter is now behind us and Katlego can focus solely on football again."
Mphela had been AWOL since last month and refused to return to the club until he got a written commitment that Sundowns would not reject any offers for him from European clubs.
He went on a media campaign and claimed that Sundowns were blocking his attempts to make a living in Europe.
His hearing yesterday seems to be the end of the matter as caretaker coach Ian Gorowa was allowed to use him in the match against Free State Stars at the weekend.