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Fish Out Of Nations Cup 24/12/03
Charlton Athletic defender Mark Fish will no longer be playing in the African Cup of Nations after Shakes Mashaba refused to allow him to join up with the squad ten days late.

Fish would only have been able to join up with his Bafana Bafana team-mates on January 17 as this period is a very busy time for his club in the English Premiership.

The former Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates defender, who has become an integral part of the setup at the south London club, would possibly have missed up to eight games if he was to join up with the rest of the squad on January 7.

The club had agreed to let the player go, albeit reluctantly, but it appears as if national coach Shakes Mashaba was not prepared to let the experienced defender join the squad late.

"Charlton were fantastic to him (Fish), they tried their best," Fish's agent Matt Kleinman is reported as saying in the Cape Times.

"But the manager (Mashaba) was not prepared to compromise.

"Mark is gutted, the people that suffer the most are the South African people. They are not going to have their best players competing (in Tunisia)," said Kleinmann.

South African Football Association Vice President Irvin Khoza had apparently agreed to the player arriving late, but Mashaba would not stand for it.

This seems to be a repeat of the Benni McCarthy scenario - Khoza and Safa president Molefi Oliphant had agreed to let McCarthy join up with the squad later than the rest of the players, but once again Mashaba was not prepared to budge on his rigid rules.


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