Former Bafana star and analyst suspended

Unsportmanship behaviour has resulted in former Bafana Bafana star Delron Buckley and a SABC sports analyst being suspended from university football activities for five years.

Buckley and goalkeeper coach Russel Thompson of University of KwaZulu-Natal football were captured on video assaulting a match official during university games in Cape Town last month.

The retired international footballer is employed as UKZN head coach, having joined in 2019 after an unusuccessful coaching stint with AmaZulu FC in the second-tier division.

In the video, an incensed Buckley and Thompson are seen charging towards a match official after a match, apparently voicing their displeasure at the refereeing decisions. After shouting at the official, Buckley is seen aggressively pushing the official and some people are heard instructing him to stop it.

Buckley and his team were participating in the UniversitySports South Africa (USSA) national championships in the Mother City.

For a man who spent two decades in Europe, plying his trade in the Bundesliga, his assault on a match official is unbecoming and viewed by many as bringing the sport into disrepute.

When he was roped in three years, one of the targets set out by UKZN management was to make it one of the top three football universities in the country. Having failed to qualify UKZN for this year’s popular FNB-sponsored Varsity Football Tournament, Buckley’s
future was already hanging by a thread since his contract ended in December.

During his illustrious playing career, the left footed attacking midfielder turned out for top Bundesliga teams like VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld and Borrusia Dortmund. He was part of SA Under 23 team that participated in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and registered the famous 3-1 win over fancied Brazil. He had an honour of representing Bafana Bafana at Fifa World Cup in France in 1998 and in South Korea/Japan in 2002. Buckley is a regular pundit on SABC’s Bundesliga and English Premier League programmes.

Efforts to get comment from Buckley and Mark Basche, UKZN manager for sports, drew a blank but USSA confirmed the harsh sentences meted out.

Mandla Gagayi, USSA chairperson for Championships Dispute Resolution Committee, said: “Coaches Thompson and Buckley are suspended from all USSA Football affiliated activities for 5 years, and their misconduct will also be reported to Safa for further consideration.

“The University of KwaZulu Natal receives 5 years (2024-2028) suspension from all USSA. The sentence is suspended on condition that the University of KwaZulu-Natal does not commit a similar transgression during the next 5 years.

“This suspension shall carry even if they (Buckley and Basche) change institutions.”

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