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Football DStv Premiership PSL relegation/promotion playoffs Richards Bay FC

Biyela Feels Cheated By Ochieng As Bay Is Banned By FIFA

  • June 21, 2024
  • 3 min read
Biyela Feels Cheated By Ochieng As Bay Is Banned By FIFA

Richards Bay chairman Sifiso Biyela expressed his disappointment with Kenyan player Ovella Ochieng, accusing him of dishonesty.

Ochieng, from Kenya, was signed before the second the second half of the 2022/23 season resumed during the enforced FIFA World Cup break from Township Rollers. 

The 22-year-old was previously on the books of Marumo Gallants between August 2021 and January 2022, but he started one game of the eight he played for Richards Bay. 

According to Biyela, Bay reached a mutual agreement with Ochieng for his departure at the end of the season, including a settlement. However, Ochieng later approached FIFA claiming the club withheld money owed to him. This resulted in a FIFA suspension on Richards Bay’s ability to sign new players.

Biyela, speaking after the club retained its PSL status, acknowledged the need to address the issue while criticizing Ochieng’s lack of transparency.

“The reality is that some players are dishonest,” Biyela said. “This isn’t a problem we encounter with local players. We can negotiate exit terms openly with them. Here’s the situation: a player fails to perform – let’s say two out of 20 games. We then have a conversation, proposing a six-month severance agreement.”

“Sometimes, the moment they sign the agreement, they report us to FIFA. Now, I don’t want to get into a fight with FIFA, those are big guns, and I definitely don’t want to be relegated to the Motsepe Foundation Championship. But while I blame the player, it’s a lesson for us as well.”

Biyela emphasized the importance of thorough scouting before signing players, particularly foreign ones.

“We listen to agents about promising players, but we need to be convinced they can contribute to the team before signing them,” he said. “That’s where the problem lies. We sign someone who isn’t the right fit, and then there are issues as soon as they arrive. But we’re already committed by the contract.”

“If I had my way, I’d offer foreign players a six months contract with an optional extension. But the league wouldn’t approve that.”

Biyela confirmed that Richards Bay will settle the amount claimed by Ochieng to avoid a prolonged FIFA ban. “It wasn’t a huge amount, not like the millions owed by other teams,” he explained. “It was R230,000, so we’ll be able to sign players again.”

This incident highlights a recurring issue in the PSL, where foreign players have caused transfer bans for clubs due to unpaid dues. TS Galaxy is another recent example, facing a FIFA ban over R1.8 million owed to former Ivorian striker Bernard Yao Kouassi. However, Galaxy chairman Tim Sukazi assured that the debt will be settled, lifting the ban.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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