Tendai Ndoro: What a daft fuss about a very simple issue
Matter of the player’s eligibility was straightforward
One wonders just why Tendai Ndoro’s signing by Ajax Cape Town in January was allowed to descend into the increasingly unmanageable crisis it has become.
Ndoro’s eligibility dispute stems from a Fifa ruling that a player may not turn out for more than two clubs in a season.
The striker played a game for Orlando Pirates in August‚ then signed and played for Al Faisaly in Saudi Arabia‚ before signing for Ajax and playing seven games.
Fifa rules are clear, stating that “players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.”As an exception to this rule, “a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (starting in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season”.
When you trace the origins of this saga, you get the feeling that it was something that should not have been allowed to tarnish South African football, notwithstanding the controversies that often accompany the sport.
Starting right from the Ajax boardroom where someone deemed it fit and right to sign the 32-year-old Zimbabwean striker, huge and costly mistakes were made.
The questions that are being asked now should have been raised before Ndoro was hauled from Saudi Arabia to sign for Ajax. And if the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had watertight systems in place, Ndoro’s signature would not have seen the light of day. And yet it did.
And when, after all that had happened, the PSL further complicated the whole thing when its own dispute resolution chamber, which the PSL claims is wholly independent of their organisation, ruled that Ndoro could indeed continue to play in Ajax’s matches.This was despite the PSL’s own disciplinary committee taking the matter to arbitration at the SA Football Association.
The PSL’s bickering on this matter may have given Ajax greater hope of winning the case; hence their decision to take the arbitrator’s ruling last week to the South Gauteng High Court on an urgent application.
Arbitrator Nassir Cassim took the correct decision by referring Ndoro’s case to Fifa’s Player Status Committee.
Looking at the rules of Fifa, it seems easier to say now that this should have been the first port of call for both Ajax and the PSL before Ndoro was signed by the Cape Town club.
In fact, when the court decision was announced on Tuesday last week, the PSL claimed it had always been their belief that the matter should have been referred to Fifa because they are the only ones who have jurisdiction to rule on it.
If that has always been the PSL’s belief, then why didn’t they take Ndoro’s case to Fifa from the word go? Had the PSL done so, no false hopes on the part of Ajax would have been created.With the PSL’s indecision Ajax have been hoping they might avoid a sanction, but after the High Court dismissed their application on Tuesday it is now left to Fifa to rule, and hopefully no one will oppose Fifa’s decision.
The consequences for Ajax are obviously dire as they could lose 10 points they earned in seven matches Ndoro participated in.
If Ajax were not fighting relegation there’s a possibility that we would not have seen them clutching at straws the way they have been in this matter.
Instead we could have seen Ajax withdrawing Ndoro altogether from the field of play until everyone gets clarity from Fifa on his eligibility.
The saga may have been a sorry one for both Ajax and PSL but in the bigger scheme of things, and for future reference, it will help both the clubs and the PSL to attend to the rules before they sign players, waste time and a lot of money on a non-issue in courts and elsewhere.
One hopes Fifa will soon announce a decision that will no doubt have some impact on the relegation dogfight which now includes the likes of SuperSport United and Polokwane City, and of course Platinum Stars, who are everyone's favourite for the axe.