Safa called an urgent NEC meeting, which called a makeshift team to honour the fixture.”

The South African Football Association (Safa) has confirmed that it will formally apologize to the Botswana Football Association, CAF, and FIFA for bringing the game into disrepute following the embarrassing scenes at Tsakane Stadium in Brakpan on Sunday.

The unfortunate incident unfolded when a makeshift Banyana Banyana team suffered a crushing 5-0 defeat against Botswana after the “real” Banyana Banyana team refused to participate due to contractual issues.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi addressed the media after the match, expressing unconditional apologies to the people of Botswana, all South Africans, CAF, and FIFA for the regrettable turn of events.

Following an emergency meeting between Safa, the South African Football Players’ Union, and the Banyana players, Lesufi announced that all parties agreed to apologize for the embarrassment caused and expressed willingness to resume negotiations.

The dispute arose when the players raised concerns about their bonuses, the quality of the opposition, and the condition of the Tsakane Stadium pitch. Consequently, they declined to sign the contracts presented by Safa but eventually arrived at the stadium later in the afternoon.

Safa responded by assembling a makeshift team to honor the fixture, as failure to do so would have resulted in significant penalties and tarnished the country’s reputation.

Lesufi intervened at the match venue, mediating between union representatives and Safa members, in an attempt to salvage the situation.

He emphasized that Safa’s decision to call up alternative players was to avoid the embarrassment of not fulfilling the fixture on home soil and to demonstrate respect to Botswana, who had already traveled to South Africa.

Reflecting on the incident, Lesufi acknowledged the need to address issues early on, noting that the association had been aware of the players’ demands regarding their participation in the FIFA Women’s World Cup but had delayed in meeting them.

In conclusion, lessons have been learned from this unfortunate episode, and Safa intends to send a formal letter of apology to all relevant parties involved. The focus now lies on resolving the existing grievances and preventing similar situations in the future.