Fri. Aug 14th, 2020

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Coronavirus: Safa’s Dr Ngwenya reveals receiving death threats over delay to restart PSL season

3 min read

The country’s FA said the season can resume during the first week of August after rejecting the league’s proposed date of July 18

South African Football Association (Safa) chief medical doctor Thulani Ngwenya has revealed he nearly quit as the association’s compliance officer after receiving death threats from unknown people. 

According to Ngwenya, the said people felt he was the one refusing to let PSL football to return, and he reported this to his bosses at Safa who then took the matter to the police.  

“This recent period has been the most stressful in my life. It has been really bad. It got to a point where I received private calls from people threatening my life,” Ngwenya told City Press.

“I have reported it to Safa and we have opened a case with the police. That’s how bad it is. I have been insulted and threatened I don’t know how many times in the past few weeks. I really needed to think long and hard about whether I wanted to continue,” he revealed. 

One of Ngwenya’s responsibilities as Safa’s compliance officer is to ensure that all the 32 PSL teams observe the stringent measures set by the Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) for the return of football without exposing anyone to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.   

The association’s decision to reject PSL’s proposed return date of July 18 appears to have infuriated a lot of people in the football fraternity and they have directed their anger at Ngwenya.  

The KwaNyamazane-born medical doctor said his primary objective is the safety of the players, the majority of whom he works with at national team level. 

“I work with many of these players and, as a medical doctor, it’s my job to want the best for them,” he said. 

“I became a doctor to help people and nothing else. People think I am being used as a pawn, but they don’t know that I took an oath as a medical doctor and there are certain principles and ethics that I have to follow.”

Ngwenya, 36, said it hurts that some people are blaming him for the delay in the resumption of the 2019-20 season, saying he would have not been part of the whole process if the safety of players and officials were not a priority.  

“If I was drawn into something wrong and unethical, I would never be part of that. I am very principled. It hurts me very much that I am seen as a stumbling block to the return of football,” added Ngwenya. 

“People think I don’t want football to return and that is untrue. I am part of a collective and we have worked very hard to put together the Joint Liaison Committee document that speaks to the return of games. As instructed by the government, Safa and the PSL have been engaging on the matter of the return to football.”

The PSL is expected to make a decision the future of the suspended season in their Monday’s board of governors meeting.  

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