Kenyan winger at heart of multi-million dispute leads to FIFA ban on South African club

Kenyan winger at heart of multi-million dispute leads to FIFA ban on South African club

Festus Chuma 13:48 - 15.04.2024

FIFA bans a South African football club from transfers due to unpaid millions to a Kenyan winger amid relegation fears.

South Africa Premier Soccer League side Richards Bay has been hit with a transfer ban by global football governing body FIFA. 

The ban comes after investigations revealed that the club failed to meet its financial commitments to Kenyan winger Ovella Ochieng.

This decision has significant implications for Richards Bay as they struggle to avoid relegation from the top tier of South African football.

Ochieng, who parted ways with Richards Bay last season, had featured in eight league matches under the guidance of then-coach Vasili Manousakis.

Despite an agreement on financial terms, the club did not fulfill its obligations, prompting Ochieng to seek FIFA’s intervention.

SABC Sport reports that FIFA has now updated its records to restrict Richards Bay from registering new players both internationally and locally.

 "FIFA have updated their records to sanction Richards Bay by not allowing them to register new players internationally and have since also written to their member federation in the South African Football Association [SAFA] to do the same from a local level as well," confirmed the broadcaster.

Richards Bay is not the only team in the PSL facing such sanctions.

Royal AM, still awaiting the lifting of their ban due to unpaid dues to Samir Nurkovic and Ricardo Nascimento, shares a similar fate.

Meanwhile, other clubs like Polokwane City and Chippa United have recently had their bans lifted after settling dues with former players.

With seven games remaining in the season, the transfer ban comes at a critical time for Richards Bay.

The team is desperately fighting to maintain its status in South Africa's premier division, and the inability to bring in new talent could severely impact their relegation battle.

Ochieng, now 24 and unattached, has a notable international career with Kenya. 

Before his stint at Richards Bay, he played for Township Rollers in Botswana and Vassalund in Sweden. 

His time in Sweden from 2018 to 2021 was particularly fruitful establishing him as a promising talent in European football circles.

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