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Sukazi – We’re Throwing Away Millions

TS Galaxy Chairman Tim Sukazi has suggested they were conned by Bernard Yao Kouassi and are now in the process of paying the Ivorian to end their FIFA transfer ban.

FIFA had communicated on 12 June that they had been hit with a three-window transfer ban for failure to pay the towering striker who has since joined NPFL side Rivers United.

Kouassi was poised to join Galaxy in the January transfer window to bolster their attacking options but left without kicking a ball after registration issues.

“The next step is to pay these people which we can do any time, to be honest, but the sad reality is that we’ve been conned in a way, I’m sure we’re not the first South African club to cry out about this,” Sukazi told iDiski Times.

“We have learnt now that in the international market, there are players who specialise in conning clubs and finding ways for clubs to fork out at some point or another. He arrived in 2023 January when we were looking for a striker, we thought he could add something to us.

“So we concluded the contract with him subject to two conditions, that he must get a work permit, two we must be issued with his International Clearance Certificate (ITC) by 31 January which you’d know is the date of the window closing in the PSL.

“Failing that the contract would have been no force of effect. We went about the necessary, we got the work permit to lodge at the PSL, and then it will go to SAFA for the ITC, but PSL won’t take these documents without a work permit… so we got it on 25 January and immediately went to PSL, they forwarded it to SAFA immediately as the window was set to close soon.

“So when we started the ITC, the player provided his certificate… as SAFA started working, we logged into the system and we couldn’t find the player, he was nowhere to be seen, we told him we can’t find you on the system and he had no straight story.

“On the date of the closing of the window, he came with another clearance, he said ‘this was another club I played for, try this one’ – ‘But then who did you play for? What’s happening’ we said. It was one story after another and that clearance didn’t work either, he was not on the FIFA TMS – in law, the contract was not in force or effect.”

Sukazi feels they have been hard done by, having tried everything in their power to secure the player, who they believed would have added value to Sead Ramovic’s squad and now have no choice but to pay out the contract.

“We wrote an appeal, that even if we perhaps get it later, the PSL will allow him to register since we lodged on time you know. There’s only one way now of sorting it out, we have to pay these guys, we have to. It’s R1.8m we have to throw like we getting it from the river,” he said.

“We’re throwing away R1.8 million. In my view, I’m not really happy with how FIFA looked into this, the first outcome, I feel they didn’t even read our submissions, we explained this clearly to them but they made no consideration of it.”

Sukazi went on to fork out a further R512,000 to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport, which was rejected with the final judgement, leading towards the official three-window ban laid down by FIFA.

“I don’t know what else we could have done if this guy gave us clearances that we couldn’t use, he ended up providing us with a different passport number and only then did we find him while we were trying to load a new profile for him on the system,” he explained.

“It was a wrong passport number and spelling loaded by his previous clubs in India, things you cannot prophesize but he went on to lodge a claim to FIFA. Why would we do these appeals with the IFA, why would we pay for his work permit if we didn’t want to pay him?

“It’s a sorry situation, we did everything to try and get this deal, we spent R40,000 for his work permit, but they claim we didn’t want him. So we’ll pay it, and the ban will get lifted after we provide the proof of payment, we’re busy authorising the payment now.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.