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General News Sun, 10 Feb 2008

Ghana poster an 'embarrassment' to SA

Key stakeholders in South African football on Thursday washed their hands of the street poster at the African Cup of Nations in Ghana which depicts the old South African flag.

The poster depicted the old South African flag as well as the face of striker Benni McCarthy who was not even selected to the Bafana Bafana squad for the tournament.

The poster also carried the logo of cellphone giant MTN as the title sponsor but MTN has distanced itself from the poster completely.

The poster has been labelled an "embarrassment to South Africa".

Morio Sanyane, director of communications for the South African Football Association (Safa), said the organisation was embarrassed that the poster was in full view of the world without any shame.

"It is an embarrassment to the country but we will take it up with the relevant authorities," he said.

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Sanyane said Safa needed to verify the poster and check its authenticity as a matter of urgency but the problem was that the poster was up in Ghana and so was beyond the jurisdiction of SA.

Nozipho January-Bardill, MTN group executive, said MTN had not given any authorisation for the use of its logo as the title sponsor.

"We wish to place on record that any such use is illegal and MTN will be investigating the matter," she said.

January-Bardill said the matter would be taken up with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to scrutinise how the poster went through its approval process.

She added that MTN could not speculate on how the title sponsor logo was accessed.

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Sanyane added: "If it is found that foul play has taken place we will have to take it up with the CAF and LOC. We are living in a digital era and things can be manipulated."

Sanyane said a delegation of Safa visited Ghana but no one had seen the poster in question.

Tumi Makgabo, communications manager for the 2010 Fifa World Cup organising committee, said that because the 2010 LOC logo was not on the poster it "did not affect us at all".

"It won't be appropriate for us to comment," she said.

Source: IOL
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