Iran league deals major blow to Ayanda Patosi and Cape Town City

18 February 2019 - 16:24 By Mark Gleeson
Former Cape Town City midfielder Ayanda Patosi.
Former Cape Town City midfielder Ayanda Patosi.
Image: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

Ayanda Patosi has run into a stumbling block in Iran with the local league refusing to register him because they assert he is not of sufficient international quality to play for Tehran club Esteghlal.

Patosi’s lack of international game time over the last two years sees him falling foul of stringent restrictions that Iranian football is now placing on African imports to reduce the number of bogus footballers they feel are being signed up for their league.

The move represents a major blow to Patosi and Cape Town City‚ who last month loaned him to Iran for six months in a lucrative deal‚ worth some R14-million‚ for both the club and the 26-year-old midfielder.

The Iranians are demanding that he have played international football over the last two years before they allow him to be registered.

But the last time Patosi was in contention for a Bafana Bafana cap was in March 2017 when Owen da Gama stood in as caretaker coach for friendly matches against Angola and Guinea Bissau.

Da Gama was asked to write a letter to the Iranians asserting that he had intended to call Patosi up for the two friendlies but that Patosi could not play because of injury.

Da Gama‚ who is now the coach of Highlands Park‚ has since confirmed that he has penned such a letter in support of Patosi‚ who won the last of his 12 caps for Bafana in late 2016.

He has been kicking his heels for three weeks now at his new club‚ who are two-time Asian champions and the most successful in Iran with eight national titles.

They are coached by German Winfried Schafer‚ who took Cameroon to the African Nations Cup title in 2002.

Patosi is the first South African to be signed to play in Iran‚ one of the giants of Asian football and where ex-Bafana coach Carlos Queiroz had been in charge of the national team for eight years and 100 matches until his resignation last month.

Outspoken Patosi took to Instagram (ayandapatosi) earlier this month to express his thanks to City for his turbulent 18 months at the club and also set out his hopes for the latest chapter in a career‚ which has already seen him play in the top flight at Lokeren in Belgium.

On his time in the Premier Soccer League‚ he pointedly did not mention coach Benni McCarthy‚ who did not give him regular game time as Patosi fought a continual battle against the bulge

He wrote: “My journey with Cape Town City has been a roller coaster‚ to say the least. I was welcomed with warm hands and it was a joy to be part of such an awesome team.’

Since arriving in Iran‚ he has also posted:

“I’ve also received so much support from the fans of Estaghlal FC. I’ve received so many messages welcoming me‚ I can’t wait to play for you guys. This journey is exciting and I can’t wait to start my new life with you guys.”